SCHOOLCRAFT COUNTY, Mich. (WZMQ) – Schoolcraft County will not have to shut down its ambulance services thanks to the results of the November 7 election.
Manistique City Manager Corey Barr told WZMQ 19 in a previous interview, “The City of Manistique was notified January 5 by the Department of Treasury to submit, on behalf of the ambulance/EMS fund, a corrective action plan and a deficit elimination plan.”
To combat that deficit, Manistique Public Safety asked residents to vote “yes” on a five-year, 2.25-mill tax. If voters hadn’t supported the proposal, it would have reappeared on the May ballot. If it had not passed for a second time, the county’s EMS operations would be legally required to shut down in June of 2024.
The millage passed overwhelmingly. It is the first time in Schoolcraft County history that its ambulance service will be funded by taxpayer money.
“This is truly a win for the entire county,” said Manistique Public Safety Director Tim Russell. “We had great partnerships from other government entities in the county to private individuals and organizations. With all of that collaboration on a brand new millage that was never in existence, I think that really is a compliment to the citizens of Schoolcraft County.”
For the first year or two, Russell says the millage will offset the EMS fund deficit identified by the State Treasury. Then, the funds will go toward capital improvements.
“It is our intent to make that movement towards replacing some of our aged ambulances, some of the high-priced ticket items, and the technologies that we’re going to continue to need for patient care,” Russell said. “Over the next few years, it’s going to be some subtle changes. We’re going to still provide that high level of care that we’ve been doing, but after that debt is alleviated, then we can start truly getting the equipment that we need to continue forward in the next several years.”
Russell says Manistique Public Safety and city administrators are thankful for the support of Schoolcraft County voters.
“To see the public come out on just a general election where the primary vote was this millage, that was very gratifying,” he said. “It shows that the people saw the importance of EMS in Schoolcraft County.”
For more background information on the Schoolcraft County EMS millage, click here.