The Henry County Supervisors talked with lawyers from the firm Ahlers and Cooney Thursday morning discussing the possible language on a ballot to present to the public regarding county Emergency Medical Services. The Supervisors first needed to know if it’s ok to levy a tax for the purpose of supporting the ambulance service and can the revenue from the levy be turned over to HCHC for that purpose. The lawyers said the short answer is yes. But the levy ballot language has to clearly articulate not only the levy rate but what services would be covered and the amount needed. Plus, it must also define the county’s obligation as well as specify the hospital can only use the funds for specific uses. HCHC now must provide certain data, the exact amount needed and a first draft contract. The supervisors must decide based on that information exactly what amount the county levy would be for….covering losses, sharing in the loss amount or providing the maximum financial amount allowed by law. There is a time deadline to have all this decided on and for the law firm to draft the ballot language in order for the levy question to be included on the November 3 general election ballot. But the lawyers told the supervisors they need to get the language right and be comfortable with it and to also not feel pushed to meet the mid-August time frame required for the November election. HCHC would like to have the issue resolved a soon as possible since the hospital is in need of financial assistance to cover insurance losses due to owning Emergency Medical Services, considered to be a non-essential service.
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