What is the issue?
The state’s Gallagher Amendment is reducing the funding available for the Eagle County Paramedic Services (ECPS) – and expenses are outpacing revenue by more than 5% per year. At the same time, the calls for emergency service fielded by the Paramedic Service are increasing significantly as the area continues to grow.
Last year the organization handled 5,200 calls.
Please see the informational video about the impacts of the Gallagher Amendment by watching below:
How much will it cost me? Is this a Tax Increase?
Simply “De-Gallagherizing does NOT cost you anything. It is NOT a tax increase. Only raising mill levies increases taxes. By asking to opt out of the Gallagher Amendment, ECPS would be requesting to keep the property tax you are already paying.
How will the money be spent?
The ECPS board of directors is considering asking residents for the ability to stabilize the funding in the November 5 election before cuts need to be considered. If the funding made available by the Gallagher Amendment continues to follow trends of the last 15 years, it will continue to decline, worsening the cash crunch for the organization.
Can’t the Paramedic Services just cut costs?
Year over year, ECPS continues to focus on prudent cost-cutting measures that have minimal impact on providing healthcare and critical response to the community.
However, costs have outpaced the tax revenue that is available for the ECPS and most of those costs – such as fuel, insurance, new ambulances, equipment and maintenance are beyond the ability of the District to control. On top of that, the growth of the area is increasing the number of emergency calls we handle, creating even more pressure on our budget.
In 2013 ECPS consolidated with the Western Eagle County Ambulance District and has right sized the management team for the operation, creating efficiencies.
Will this eliminate our Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) protections?
No, TABOR will still apply. The proposal only allows the Paramedic Services to stabilize the funding to help match its actual operating costs with voter approval. Right now the Gallagher Amendment is decreasing the money the district can collect from property taxes and it will be reduced even more over time and the board of directors would like to take a proactive approach to solving the issue.
What happens if this measure is not approved?
By 2023 the Paramedic Service is facing a $990,000 shortfall in its $13 million budget the number of ambulances available for this critical emergency service in order to meet expenses in order to right size the operation in order to meet expenses
Why don’t you contract with insurance companies? We do contract with VA, Medicare and Medicaid. Large commercial providers will not contract with most ambulance providers. ECPS management has advocated at the State and National level to get insurance companies to negotiate with ambulance providers on rates. We did make some changes in the 2019 legislative session in Colorado that will allow insurance providers to reimburse ambulance service based on Cost.
Didn’t the Paramedic Services just build a new building in Edwards?
No. That was built by the Eagle River Fire Protection District, a separate organization.