STANTON, MI – Montcalm County voters likely will be asked in August to pay higher taxes in exchange for better ambulance service.

The County Board of Commissioners’ Health and Human Services Committee has discussed asking voters to renew the current $0.5-mil tax that pays for maintenance and replacement of the Montcalm County Emergency Services (MCES) fleet of eight ambulances and nine rescue units for three years and to raise it by $0.25 mils to replace several Ford ambulances earlier than normal, according to the Greenville Daily News.


Currently, several Ford ambulances purchased after new federal emissions standards took effect in 2003 are prone to breakdowns and are draining the department’s maintenance budget. Plans call for replacing two Fords per year with Chevrolets along with the regular fleet replacement schedule, spending about an extra $190,000 a year. A new ambulance is priced at from $80,000 to $95,000.

The commissioners’ Finance and Personnel Committee is expected to discuss the issue on Apr. 28, with a goal of placing the issue before voters Aug. 5.