Taxpayers can’t afford to subsidize URAA

September 6, 2012

The continuing saga pitting MMR against United Rescue won’t go away- or so it seems. United Rescue Ambulance Authority (URAA) has provided ambulance service in northern Clare County for a long time.  Upstart, by regional-wide MMR has taken a large slice of that business in recent years. The two continue to vie for ambulance runs with many of the older, established residents siding with United.

But, for United, money has become a real problem. They asked voters to approve a .9 mil over 5 years request in the Primary Election. It would provide United with $400,000 in additional operating monies per year. Voters defeated the proposal by a slim margin.

So here they come again. The authority is now asking voters to approve .75 mills over 4 years in the General Election on November 6. I guess they figure the slight .15 mil adjustment will sway voters to give them the money they need to operate.

It doesn’t sway me. Although I appreciate all that United has done for this County, I cannot pull more money out of my pocket to support additional taxation, no matter who it is going to. In fact, I would be looking for our County and taxing authorities within it to be cutting taxes, not adding more.

I mean really, have we taken a look at the struggling families that make up most of the county’s population, particularly in the north end where United is hoping to tax? Can we really afford to provide an additional $50 or $100 a year from our limited income to support an ambulance service? I know I can’t.

I’m certainly not an MMR proponent plotting the demise of United. I wish there was a way they could operate effectively without begging taxpayers for subsidies. I wish they were financially strong enough to offer superior services and knock MMR out of the north end. I always pull for the underdog, and in this David and Goliath scenario, certainly United is David.

And maybe they can pull it together, and defeat the larger, better funded, MMR.  The URAA board is new and so is there director. Maybe they will bring the energy necessary to provide better service. However, I’m not pleased with the fact that one of their first proclamations was to ask voters for additional monies not once, but now twice.

I’ve never liked the provision where an item can be put before the voters more than once. It used to happen with school elections all the time. If a millage were defeated a school board would most likely ask voters to approve it with slight changes at a second election.

Once a money issue is defeated, in my mind, it is done. Shame on United or whomever, for not promoting the value of the additional dollars enough to persuade voters to say “yes.’ If they really wanted their millage to pass they should have been campaigning door-to-door to encourage voters to give them the cash.

Voters were clear in August and United should figure out a way to operate without additional public funding.

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