LOGAN – Hocking County voters are being asked to vote for two one-mil replacement levies for Hocking County Emergency Medical Services this November. The levies were originally put in place in 1976 and 1979, and Hocking County EMS Chief Scott Brooker says they are needed to continue operating the agency at its current level.
According to Brooker, the levies will allow HCEMS to expand and improve the quality of service it provides to citizens and visitors throughout the county.
The last renewal of an HCEMS levy was 15 years ago in 1997. Since the levies last renewal in 1997, HCEMS' run volume has increased by 55 percent. The current run volume has increased by 12 percent since 2011, Brooker added.
While property values have increased over the decades, property owners are currently paying the equivalent of one-mil of the 1970s value of their property.
As the cost of vehicles, equipment and staffing have increased over the years, Brooker is seeking the community’s support of HCEMS services to reflect that consideration. Brooker worked on the levy project with former HCEMS Chief and Director Steve Brown prior to Brown’s retirement.
HCEMS serves the citizens and visitors to Hocking County, and is the only county agency within Hocking County that responds to all calls for medical services.
HCEMS employs a full-time chief/director of operations; 18 full-time paramedics; and 20 part-time members made up of paramedics, intermediates and emergency medical technicians. Currently, there are three stations within the county which cover 424 square miles of territory.
Station one is located in the city adjacent to Hocking Valley Community Hospital; station two is located in the village of Laurelville and services the residents and visitors of the western portion of the county; and the newest station opened Sept. 1 in Carbon Hill and services the eastern portion of the county including Murray City, Haydenville and a large portion of Wayne National Forest.
Station three was opened in order to better serve the citizens of Hocking County, but Brooker wants to make sure residents understand that the levies are not just about the addition of that station.
“The levy is not just about station three,” he stated. “By adding this resource to the county, we now can keep trucks in all areas of the county. However, if the levies do not pass, that station may feel a greater impact than the others.”
If the levies fail, EMS will definitely feel the impact in all areas, but may need to cut sources in Carbon Hill since it was the last station added, he noted. This does not necessarily mean there will be no coverage in that area, although it will create a longer response time.
“If the levies fail, we are not going to have the technology or equipment to keep up with industry standards,” Brooker noted.
“Heart monitors alone cost $25,000 each; and squads are $170,000 each,” he stated. “We need to be able to grow with the county’s needs. It doesn’t mean there are going to be big pay raises. It means we will be able to have the proper equipment, staff and vehicles needed in order to make sure everyone’s medical needs are met.”
For a home valued at $100,000, the property owner will pay an additional cost of $45.01 per year if both levies are approved in November.
Brooker said he hopes everyone will come out and vote in support of the levies. “It gives us peace of mind to know that we have a good EMS system at the disposal of Hocking County residents and visitors for all their care and needs,” he said. “By voting for these levies, we can give Hocking County what they need and that is professional staff, quality care and the reassurance that we can get to them in time.”