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Houston County residents will vote on $5 tag fee on November ballot, funding would go to County Emergency Services

County residents will vote on $5 tag fee on November ballot, funding would go to County Emergency Services
County residents will vote on $5 tag fee on November ballot, funding would go to County Emergency Services(WTVY)
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 5:12 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Houston County residents will soon vote to approve or not approve a $5 tag fee.

The item came up during Monday’s Houston County Commission meeting, and will be on the November 3rd ballot. If voters approve, the money collected would help county emergency providers fund training and personnel needs, and buy equipment.

A committee will soon begin to publicly advertise more information about what the tax would do if approved by voters.

“In Wicksburg, Rehobeth, Columbia, Cottonwood: those facilities all run almost entirely by volunteers. That is people taking time out of their day to come pick you up and take you to the hospital. That is a big commitment. Those people are incredibly important to the county. And were it not for the volunteers, we would have to have a professional service. And a $5 tag fee would be small potatoes to what we’d have to pay for professional services,” County Commissioner Brandon Shoupe said.

The Commission and Emergency Service Providers are finalizing plans on how the funding would be distributed among the various providers, if voters approve the tag fee.

During the meeting, the commission also moved forward with approving an application to build a PPE Warehouse storage facility. The application now has to be sent off for approval by the end of the year. The warehouse would be built in the south end of the county.

It would cost about $2,870,000, with 80% paid for primarily through EDA Cares Grant Funding. The other 20%, or about $574,000, would come through a funding match from the Commission. Shoupe says some would be paid for in cash, and the rest through in-kind services, like engineering work and site preparation.

“The PPE would be huge because obviously we’ve seen such a shortage of PPE equipment. It’s starting to get better now, but it was such a crunch at the beginning of this pandemic. And I think the nation is starting to look strategically at the possibility of warehousing a lot of this stuff, in case we run into the same situation again. So there’s federal money out there, we’re going to go for it and we’re going to see if we can build a facility here in Houston County,” Shoupe said.

A timeline isn’t available yet, but it would likely be next fiscal year before the facility would be complete., pending approval.

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