Ambulance discusses possibility of resolution regarding sales tax break bills

For the second consecutive meeting, Callaway County Ambulance District Director Charles Anderson spoke to the board of directors regarding several bills passed during the 2014 Missouri legislative session that would give sales tax breaks to certain special interests.

In light of predicted revenue loss due to those tax breaks, Anderson recommended the board pass a resolution encouraging Callaway County legislators not to vote to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s recent vetoes of those bills.

“If they override, we stand to lose about $214,000,” Anderson told the board. “I know there is some debate about that amount — those numbers are from the governor’s staff — and I’ve been told it’s potentially 40 percent less than that. Still, 40 percent of $214,000 is a significant amount of money to come out of our budget.”

That figure would be $129,400.

Anderson said he understood the sales tax break bills are a hot political issue, but said he wanted to bring it to the board’s attention “because it stands to negatively affect our budget.”

He said if the sales tax breaks were to pass into law, the district would have to place shift supervisors back on the trucks and eliminate four paramedic positions in order to balance the budget.

“There are other cuts we could make, like benefits, but it would not be enough, and we would have more trouble attracting people,” Anderson said. “If we tried to make it up from taxes we’d have to increase property tax from 0.0024 percent up to 0.03 percent, which is a 1,000 percent increase.”

Board Member Norman Forman said that as custodians of taxpayer money, the board should take any potential impact on revenue into consideration.

“We’re already facing the bullet with Medicare cuts and Medicaid cuts,” Forman said. “Anything we can do to prevent any further loss to our income … we need to consider.”

The board briefly discussed the issue, with members questioning the numbers. They said they wanted more information about the bills and the potential impact before making a resolution.

The issue was tabled for the board’s August meeting, with plans to invite city and county officials more familiar with the topic to attend.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to sell a disabled 2012 Ford E-Series ambulance to Osage Ambulances for $4,500. The board had voted in June to replace the ambulance, which has a failed engine.

“Personally, I think it’s reasonable,” Anderson said of Osage’s offer. “We won’t get anything over that on it.”

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