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Leon County set to increase a tax supporting emergency medical services

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jun 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-20 19:32:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — The Leon County Commission voted Tuesday to move forward with keeping the county-wide millage rate the same but upping the millage to support emergency medical services.

Director of EMS Chief Chad Abrams said emergency medical services is getting more calls than ever.

"The call volume in Leon County for EMS has increased since 2004 to last fiscal year 94%," Abrams said. "We look year to year, like this past May, we're looking at a 6 percent increase."

Chief Chad Abrams, director of Emergency Medical Services in Leon County, said along with increased calls, inflation has increased cost.

"An ambulance, we were paying about mid $200,000 with no equipment in it, just the ambulance," Abrams said. "Recently, we just got a quote for mid $300,000 for an ambulance."

That prompting Leon County Commissioners to raise the tax support EMS by 50%, from 0.5 mills to 0.75. For the average property owner, taxes will go up about $45 a year.
That money will go toward funding operations and equipment for the county's ambulances and other emergency medical services.

After not increasing this tax since 2004, Commissioner David O'Keefe said was not an easy decision to make, but one that was necessary.

"We absolutely only do this if we have to and we have, if you think about it, have held off for 20 years," O'Keefe said. "You'd impress me if you could find a government that hasn't increased a fee like this in 20 years."

While this tax is increasing, O'Keefe said it's important to note the general millage rate will not go up.

"We are keeping the property tax rate flat," O'Keefe said. "We know that customers, Leon County residents are getting hit with a lot of increased costs when it comes to things that are going to come out of their mortgage payment."

Chief Abrams said this is all about assessing needs.

"This is a routine thing we do with our budgeting process to look some benchmarks and just the numbers that we see we see and try to forecast as close to we expect that we will need to provide great service," Abrams said.