The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 19, 2014

Bismarck votes to fund ambulance service

DANVILLE — Bismarck fire district residents opted to support a new ambulance service provider, while residents around Oakwood shot down a plan for a new park district.

The Bismarck Community Fire Protection District came to voters asking to levy a special tax rate to support taking over the Bismarck ambulance service. More than 500 ballots were cast, with the tally ending up at 56 percent, 368 votes, for the measure and 43 percent, 282 votes, against.

Eric Johnson, EMS coordinator for Bismarck fire, said he had heard positive feedback from residents in the days leading up to the election. Nonetheless, he admitted to being nervous when the polls closed.

“Once I saw the numbers, it put a smile on my face,” he said.

“This is huge for the community,” Johnson added. “It shows the community supports the fire department and realizes what we’re trying to do to better the community.”

The referendum, now that it’s been approved, will result in a maximum of $33 in taxes per year for owners of a $100,000 home. A specific total has not been set.

Johnson said he’s unaware of how long it will take to get things moving with regard to the ambulance service, adding they want to start “sooner rather than later.”

On the western side of the county, organizers for the proposed Lincoln Trail Park District were disappointed by a resounding defeat at the ballot box. Voters turned out thoroughly against the referendum, with 83 percent, of 1,037 voting against it.

Gary Ludwig is one of the coordinators of the push to create the park district. He said the possibility of a tax increase was difficult to overcome with voters and Tuesday’s tally effectively put the effort “to bed.”

“The people have spoken and spoken very soundly,” he said Tuesday night. “Regardless of what it’s for, they don’t want new taxes.”

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