Carter Co. voters reject EMS proposition

Voters in the eastern part of Carter County rejected a proposition Tuesday that would have raised property taxes to help fund the county's ambulance service.

Final unofficial numbers showed 1,545 voting against the proposition, and 1,389 voting in favor.

The issue on the ballot was whether to accept a 3-mil ad-valorem tax for residents in the Ardmore, Dickson, Lone Grove, Plainview and Springer school districts.

Jake Bramlett, who worked for the Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service about 10 years ago and is on a committee in favor of the proposition, said the cost of running the service has increased.

The number of calls a year have also doubled from about 4,000 a decade ago to 8,000 now.

"So the cost has gone up, what we're receiving from insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, has gone down," Bramlett said. "And so it just costs more for us to operate the ambulance service."

The impact on property owners would have been roughly $18 more a year per $50,000 in property value.

Some voters we spoke with say the increase is worth the price.

Others, like Anna Flatt, said there are other ways of getting funding.

"Most people in this area don't have a cup of coffee or an energy drink every other day that they can sacrifice to a private company who refuses to open their books, is asking for millions in property tax payer dollars every year and unending," Flatt said.

Bramlett said SOAS only has enough money to stay funded for another two years in its current state.

With the measure now failed, county commissioners will be tasked with finding money for SOAS elsewhere, seeing a decrease in the quality of service or establishing a new ambulance service.

Ambulance service would still be provided to the county.

"The different city councils would have some responsibilities and local hospitals would have to come up with a game plan on how to take care of patients if SOAS ran out of money," Bramlett said.