Volume 8, Number 49 - February 26, 2009
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RHCD mill levy increase awaiting governor’s signature
House Bill 145 is awaiting Gov. Dave Freudenthal’s signature.
The bill, which passed through Wyoming’s House and Senate with little to no opposition, will allow Sublette County residents to determine whether they would like to raise the mill levy that supports the Rural Health Care District (RHCD) from two mills to four mills. Assuming the county approves such a raise in the mill levy, it would go into effect July 1.
“I sponsored the bill due to some financial problems facing the health care district in Sublette County,” State Rep. Kathy Davison said. “I am hoping that it will give the people another option to get more funding and will be done by a vote of the people.”
The additional tax, which will be paid in majority by industry in the county, would allow the RHCD to continue the services they offer with more stability, as the district’s operating costs are more than their yearly budget supplied by the current two-mill tax.
EMS is one RHCD department the district has been discussing cutting back on due to expenses. The RHCD board discussed requesting the county take over the service if the additional two mill tax does not pass.
The board also requested all departments make cut backs and figure ways into their own budgets that could cut costs.
EMS supervisor Wil Gay was one of the department heads asked to figure out ways where money could be saved in the future. These options, he said would include cutting back personnel and wages for the EMS crew.
“From an EMS perspective, with our county not having a hospital, things operate differently than they would if we had one,” he said. “We require extra staffing because of the transport times to Rock Springs and Jackson, averaging four to four and a half hours. We are starting to make runs to the Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper, and trips to Salt Lake and Idaho Falls.”
Gay said the longer trips can last nearly eight hours, and if he is required to cut crews it would cut back on the departments ability to respond to 911 calls while others are already out.
“If it passes, EMS will hopefully be able to maintain an adequate staff,” Gay said. “Our goal is to look at our budget this next fiscal year from the stand point of what is the bare minimum we can get buy with and hope that if the need arises for additional personnel, we are able to get it.”
Once the governor signs the bill, RHCD, who will be responsible for covering the costs of the special vote, will have to decide whether to wait for general county elections in May or do a special mail ballot that would allow them to have the results of the vote prior to their budget sessions.
“I would urge the citizens to pass it on the basis of ‘lets continue to provide excellent care to our patients on a local level, and if the need arises, keep the sick ones alive so we can get them transferred to a more appropriate facility,’” Gay said.
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