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.