The Cass County Emergency Medical Service and its employees are fully funded as of Friday, and part of that will come from an increase in county income tax.
The Cass County Council approved an increase in the public safety section of the income tax from 0.25% to 0.50%.
That would raise between $850,000 to $900,000 a year to fund the needed service, said Council President Brian Reed.
And the money can’t be used for other matters.
“It’s only for public safety, not anything else,” he said.
That will raise the total rate of county income tax from 2.7% to 2.95%, according to the ordinance the council passed.
The council also amended the 2022 salary ordinance on Friday to set wages for the incoming workers for the new service.
The EMS director will be paid $36 an hour. The hourly wages for full-time employees will be $18 for paramedics, $14.50 for advanced EMTs and $13 for EMTs.
For part-timers, the pay is $21.25 for paramedics, $17.50 for advanced EMTs and $16 for EMTs.
Cass County HR Director Jeremy Hall said there will be overtime paid out, but to estimate how much depends on whether the EMS workers will work 12- or 24-hour shifts.
Cass County needs to have ambulance and emergency services in place by mid-December because Phoenix Paramedic Solutions used a 90-day opt-out clause to end its contract with the county.
It’s been nine years since Cass County ran its own ambulance and emergency medical service.
Residents attending Friday’s public hearing and special council meeting had concerns.
Mike Fincher felt that county officials should’ve been looking ahead.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” he said.
Fincher said by his calculations, 19 employees at an average salary of $37,000 would cost the county $703,000.
That’s three times more than the contract with Phoenix, he said.
He added that the estimate doesn’t include things like office space, equipment or support staff.