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– Messenger photo by Bill Shea

A man looks at a work by Mary Muller at the Branden Memorial Museum. -Photo of messenger by his emergency medical technician Bill Shea Shelley Stumpf and paramedic David Kraft. Kraft holds a cable used to connect the patient to a heart monitor. Pocahontas County voters will decide in the November election whether additional taxes will be paid to support the county’s emergency medical services.

POCAHONTAS – When someone experiences a sudden medical crisis, all they and their families care about is getting help quickly.

Located in Pocahontas County. Paid and volunteer paramedics and emergency medical technicians are on a mission to provide timely, life-saving care to people who have been injured, ill, or have suffered a heart attack or stroke.

Emergency medical care is expected today. And providing that care comes at a cost.

Pocahontas County voters will decide at the November 8th election whether they are willing to pay taxes to ensure the continuity of quality emergency medical services in their communities.

“EMS is at a crossroads” Patrick Mooney, director of emergency medical services at Pocahontas Community Hospital and EMS coordinator for Pocahontas County, said: ” We need to do something. This helps us maintain what we currently have and allows us to continue building on top of it. ”

– Messenger photo by Bill Shea
A man looks at a work by Mary Muller at the Branden Memorial Museum. – Messenger Photo by Paramedic Bill Shea David Kraft sits in the driver’s seat of Pocahontas’ community hospital ambulance. Pocahontas County voters will decide in November’s general election whether or not to pay additional taxes to help with emergency medical care.

James Lutman, the hospital’s administrator and chief executive, said the upcoming referendum is about the future.

“Personally, I am asking the people of Pocahontas County to think about the future.” He said. “I think this will prepare us to meet future needs.”

A referendum question asking whether a new property tax of 21 cents per $1,000 of taxable value should be introduced to help voters pay for emergency medical bills.

The same question asks whether a new 1% income tax should be introduced to help pay for emergency care.

If approved, the two new taxes will result in an annual total of $250,000 to be paid to the countywide EMS.

– Messenger photo by Bill Shea
A man looks at a work by Mary Muller at the Branden Memorial Museum. -Messenger photo by Bill Shea His one of Pocahontas Community Hospital’s newest ambulances was recently displayed on the hospital grounds. Purchasing and equipping such a unit costs about $400,000.

For the new tax to take effect, the proposal must be approved by at least 60% of voters.

If approved, the new property tax will go into effect on July 1, 2023.

The new income tax will take effect on 1 January 2024.

The hospital’s ambulance service is the largest in the county and the only one that provides critical care-level care, and is funded by fees and, more recently, donations from city and county governments.

Roetman said hospitals get 40 cents for every dollar billed for emergency services.

“The little money they pay us cannot cover our expenses.” He said.

He said the city and county each donate $30,000 a year to hospitals for emergency medical services.

Answering the phone, treating patients, and transporting them to the hospital cost money. “Availability Cost” Rutman said. He said availability costs include ambulances, equipment and, in the case of hospitals, paid staff available to respond.

For a long time, emergency medical services weren’t considered essential services like Iowa’s police and fire departments, so they weren’t tax-funded. Declared it an essential service and allowed the county to enact a levy to pay for it.

“This puts us on par with our brothers and sisters in other public security agencies.” Mooney said.

Pocahontas County Emergency Medical Services

Pocahontas Community Hospital has the largest service, with 3 ambulances at the hospital and 1 ambulance at Lawrence. It is the only provider of emergency medical level care and the only provider with paid staff.

Fonda and Rolf have emergency services.

The cities of Gilmore and Palmer have first responder units that treat patients before ambulances arrive, but do not transport patients.

EMS Tax Proposed in Pocahontas County

Property tax of 21 cents per $1,000 taxable value

1% income tax

Impact on taxpayers

The proposed property tax is estimated to cost the typical homeowner an additional $16 a year.

The proposed income tax is expected to cost an additional $19 per person per year. It is expected to cost an additional $43 per household per year.


Conducted at the time of the general election on November 8

This proposal must be approved by at least 60% of voters for the tax to take effect.

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