The City of Clearwater Council, with a unanimous vote, has approved a budget for 2020 that does not include funding of the current emergency services (ambulance service). With the service available through Sedgwick County at no cost to the citizens of Clearwater, approval of an EMS budget of $365,000 (representing 22.2 mils of a proposed 70.77 tax base for 2020, or 31% of the general budget), it was determined to not be in the best interest of the community. The current mil levy for 2019 is 59.651. The budget without the ambulance service will be approximately 62.31, an increase of 2.66 vs 11.12 if continuing the current EMS. This decision was reinforced by the fact the Clearwater EMS responds to between 200 and 250 calls per year. That equates to about $1,460 per call.
The City will work to establish a First Responder capability. This service would be staffed with volunteers, and if available, they will respond to emergencies and provide medical assistance until the Sedgwick County resource arrives. They would not have the ability to transport. The level of care will be based on the certification level of the individual responding, the same as it is today. If established there will be a cost associated with the First Responder program and that is reflected in the 2.66 increase mentioned above.
The current Clearwater EMS will continue with assistance as necessary from Sedgwick County under the mutual aid agreement in place through the end of July. The County will then assume responsibility for all calls. Sedgwick County has built into their 2020 budget funding to place a resource in Clearwater on a 12 hour per day/7 day per week basis. If approved, the county would staff a resource in Clearwater to service the local area much like they have done with the station at Lake Afton. Ambulance service outside of the local service would be provided from the nearest available resource.
This decision does not take away from the incredible job our volunteers do. They have the respect, appreciation and thanks of the Governing Body and we trust they will continue to provide a valuable service to the community through the First Responder Program.
City of Clearwater