EMS Levy falls short of 60% support

Tuesday’s election brought some disappointment for leadership at Benton County Fire District One.

Fifty-one percent of votes who cast a ballot in Tuesday’s election voted in favor of a levy to add ambulance services, but state law requires at least 60% approval.

Chief Lonnie Click says they held several listening sessions with taxpayers prior to the election.

“There is a majority of the fire district citizens that do want to see the improved services,” Click said. “They just don’t want another tax.”

He said he understands. But he also knows that adding ambulance services will help to save lives, especially in the most rural reaches of the district.

So, he’s looking at other ways to pay for an ambulance and personnel to man it.

“We’ll just have to look at some of those options out there. There’s bonds that you can do, and a bond’s not so much a tax. It’s presented a little bit different.”

Click says he’ll meet with fire commissioners to outline a path forward.