Vote yes on EMS, Rec District tax proposals

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Posted: Friday, May 22, 2020 6:17 am

Voters in Hillsboro and Traill County should support two measures appearing on mail-in ballots in the upcoming June 9 primary election.

The measures will require that property owners pay more in taxes, but both proposals pave the way for a better, healthier future for our communities.

Measure 1, which applies to all residents in Traill County, seeks to increase the county’s emergency services levy from 4 to 15 mills.

Money raised from the tax levy will be earmarked for West Traill Ambulance and F-M Ambulance, the latter of which serves Hillsboro and eastern Traill County.

Both ambulance services had their county tax funding reduced from 10 to 4 mills this year following a review of how those taxes were collected locally.

Passage of Measure 1 would restore 6 mills of previously collected taxes and provide 5 additional mills for EMS services to combat inflation and other rising health care costs.

Although figures vary based on the city and taxing district where property owners live, county officials estimate the higher levy will result in a $49.50 tax increase for owners of a $100,000 home in Traill County.

The added cost for the owner of a $250,000 home was estimated at $124 a year.

Measure 2 proposes a tax increase of 6 mills for taxpayers in the city of Hillsboro to fund the Hillsboro Rec District.

Like Traill County’s private ambulance services, the Rec District had its levy funding reduced from 4 to zero mills this past year after its taxing authority lapsed.

City officials estimate the Rec District finished $4,600 in the red in 2019 – and that was after the Hillsboro City Commission doled out $10,000 to help the program, which oversees popular summer youth activities like Babe Ruth, Little League and T-ball.

If Measure 2 fails, the existence of the Rec District itself could be threatened, creating a void during summer for more than 240 Hillsboro kids who take part in summer baseball, softball and golf in the city.

If approved, the levy would increase the taxes on a $150,000 home by $40.50 a year.

The owners of a $250,000 house would see their taxes jump $67.50.

No one enjoys paying higher taxes, but both measures are important to the future of Traill County and Hillsboro.

If the new coronavirus has taught North Dakotans anything, it’s that the health of its citizens is critically important to a community.

Passing Measure 1 ensures that the emergency medical service providers responsible for our health and safety have the staffing and tools they need to continue serving all areas of the county.

Passing Measure 2 guarantees Hillsboro’s youth will have opportunities to acquire new skills, take part in physical activities and learn valuable lessons that being involved in sports can provide.

Those lessons have been taught to kids in Hillsboro for generations and we expect today’s taxpayers understand the importance of continuing to offer those same opportunities.

Vote yes on Measure 1 to meet the needs of people who need health care today.

Vote yes on Measure 2 to provide a better tomorrow for Hillsboro’s children.

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