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City Will Consider Higher Paramedic Levy

Council looking to for how much 1.75 and 2-mill levies would generate

After realizing that the three options for the August paramedic levy would not bring in sufficient money for the paramedic fund, City Council will review placing a 1.75 or 2-mill three-year levy on the ballot for the special Aug. 7 levy. The current levy, which was introduced in 1978, expires at the end of 2012.

Councilman Larry Meiners, who heads the city’s finance committee, said after the county auditor ran numbers on what each of the three options would bring in, council quickly realized there would be a shortfall.

The previously discussed 1.25-mill renewal would bring in $1.04 million; a 1.25-mill replacement would also generate about $1.04 million, both leaving a shortfall of about $100,000 per year.

“There was a $12 difference between the two,” Meiners said.

A 1.5-mill levy would bring in $1.24 million per year.

Meiners said the 1.5-mill option would allow the paramedic fund, which supports eight firefighter/paramedics and vehicle support, to remain in the black for a while, but eventually the funds would run out.

“Once again we will go to the county and see how much money a 1.75 and 2-mill levy would raise,” Meiners said. “We’ll have a recommendation next Monday night (Feb. 27).”

At the Ward II meeting on Feb. 22, Mayor Greg Zilka addressed a resident’s question as to why the money from ambulance billing, which brought in $380,000 this year, wasn’t used to cover the deficit.

“Our General Fund is also running at a deficit,” Mayor Greg Zilka said, noting that the $100,000 shortfall this year was paid from the General Fund.

Meiners expressed concern that the city could lose eight firefighter/paramedics if the levy failed. Eisenhardt said most calls answered by the fire department were medically related.

“The vast majority of our calls are paramedic,” Avon Lake Fire Chief. “Seventy-eight percent of emergencies are paramedic calls.”

The levy has only failed once since it was introduced in 1978.

The city is opting for a special levy in August to allow another chance in November if the first try fails.

Rob Berner February 23, 2012 at 06:38 PM
So, let me see if I understand this correctly. The paramedic levy pays for basically ambulance services and supports 8 paramedics. Last year they collected $1.04 million from the levy and $380,000 for fees for services. If my math is correct that equals $130,000 per paramedic with just the levy and $177,500 if you combine the levy and the fees collected. Does this seem a little excessive?
Andrea S February 23, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Good point. I wonder how much of their salaries are due to overtime? In the long run it may be cheaper to hire more people and disallow overtime (aside from holidays). Do we have any volunteers who work in the department for fire / paramedic? Where I grew up it was all volunteers, which is not feasible for Avon Lake but perhaps adding in just a few volunteers may make a difference.
Dave D February 24, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Actually they collected upwards of $450,000.00 in fees from insurance for transports. That money did not go towards the fire dept budget, it went right to the general fund, Hence the shortfall? I saw this in the Press just today. It did not offer any other explanation other than there was any other provision but for that money to go to the general fund. Seems like there is a surplus in this general fund also.
Harry H. February 25, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Maybe the levy money pays for training and equipment, vehicles and maintance, a portion of the building and utilities and everything else that goes with a professional paramedic program. As an ex-mayor i'm surprised you don't know more about it. Maybe if the past mayor would have used an ounce of foresight and not reduced the levy then the current mayor wouldn't have to go and ask for it back. And if your gonna insist on using crazy math we would prefer to have it in the form of a local paper insert.
Dan LaVigne February 25, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Here is an idea we cut the council by two and get rid of the council at large. We need our firemen and paramedics no matter how much they make. We have the best of all the cities in Lorain County

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