As a result of the April 5 municipal election, the Van-Far Ambulance District will be increasing its authorized tax levy by 17.15 cents per $100 assessed valuation. The proposition received 200 votes in favor, and 101 votes opposed. The new permitted tax rate shall still be subject to the mandatory 50% sales tax rollback formula in 321.552 RS Mo and to the Hancock Amend ment rollback formula. Representatives of the district have said that this increase will greatly benefit the community. Administrator Wendy Hull said that she was shocked that it passed.
“The timing was awful with the cost of everything going up,” said Hull. “But it was for that very reason that we needed the increase. We are ecstatic over it. We are watching to see what happens with the hospital. We may end up putting on a call crew to help out with the situation. We are going to be traveling further distances as is everyone around us. One of those added costs will be the additional use of fuel. This increase in budget will make things like that possible,” she added.
The district has stated that the last tax increase was in 1998. In 2010, taxpayers voted for the sales tax with a mandatory 50% rollback, which offset the property tax and distributed the cost to consumers. Although the district has been maintaining its budget during difficult challenges, such as losing an ambulance in a fire and purchasing lifesaving equipment, the rising cost of employee insurance rates, medical supplies, fuel and other expenses will require additional funding. The district has also recently increased the wages of its employees to ensure and maintain the quality of employee that Van-Far Ambulance taxpayers deserve. Hull stated that they have barely sustained the budget.
“We have had some pretty rough times, but we have always kept everything within the budget. Now we are seeing the cost of basic things such as fuel triple in price, we would be tapped without the increase,” she added.
According to the Medical Group Management Association, pandemic related supply chain issues have caused headaches for medical practice leaders. In recent months, medical practice leaders have noted that their spending on a range of supplies has grown even beyond the increased levels they experienced in 2020 during the early spikes in COVID-19 cases. For example: A box of Nitrile exam gloves before the pandemic might have cost $5 a box; that price is now $23 a box.