The Roundup -

McKenzie Co. Ambulance Service Seeks Tax District to Balance Budget


March 28, 2018 | View PDF

The McKenzie County Ambulance Service employs 8 licensed paramedics, and has a volunteer staff of 18 Emergency Medical Technicians and 10 drivers that provide emergency health care and advanced life support for the people of Watford City and some of the surrounding area. In recent years, the Service has been operating on a budget deficit, with only 51% of billed services being paid by consumers or insurance. To balance the budget, Jim Johnsrud, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Squad leader, is seeking to establish a tax district.

According to Johnsrud, “We’ve worked off of oil impact grants for a few years, and that’s what’s been keeping us above water. Those are going away, and if you aren’t collecting the money at home that’s available to you, you won’t be eligible for some of the state grant funds.” In essence, Johnsrud explains, “you have to do your homework.” The state of North Dakota sets aside grant funds for emergency services, but local funds available must be utilized before state grants will be issued, and Johnsrud explains that those grant funds are not as widely available as before. Currently, the Service receives some financial support from the Watford City and McKenzie County general fund, and seeks to replace some of this through the tax district. The creation of the tax district provides a more sustainable source of funding for the service than relying on donations and City and County funds.

The Service would be eligible for up to 10 mils through the tax district, but only plans to ask for between 2 and 3 mils, which amounts to about $4.50 per mil per $100,000 in property value. The objective, Johnsrud says, is simply to balance the budget and remain eligible for state grants. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the Service can continue to provide life-saving emergency care to local residents.

The proposed tax district will be included on the ballot in the upcoming June 12th election.


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