Supervisors mull essential services ballot measure

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

LEE COUNTY – Several bills proposed in the state legislature this year to make state ambulance services an essential service similar to police and fire didn’t make it to the governor’s desk this session.

In light of that, Lee County Supervisors on Tuesday brushed the idea of putting an essential services question on the ballot this year for county voters.

According to Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise, a special election could be held as early as September to put the issue in front of voters, or the question could go on the general election ballot Nov. 3.

“The bill for making ambulance service an essential service did not pass so it looks like we may have to go to an election,” Fraise said.

“You’re gonna have to begin thinking about what you’re wanting to do.”

If voters were to pass the measure that would allow the county to tax for costs associated with providing an ambulance service. It would sunset under current law after five years and have to be put on the ballot again for another five years if things haven’t changed on the state’s landscape.

Fedler said he was disappointed the bill failed and now it places the burden on the voters of Lee County.

“I was really disappointed that bill failed. It would have been really good for Lee County if that bill had passed and now we’re gonna to have deal with it,” Fedler said.

The bill would have allowed public bodies to tax for the revenue to pay for essential services and would have removed the five year sunset as well.

Fedler said he would like to get as many voters involved as possible, so the general election would be best, but he said he it was up to the board if a special election was better for time considerations.

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