Proposal to add $5 tag fee in Dale Co. to fund EMS

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OZARK, Ala. (WTVY) - Dale County EMA Director Kurt McDaniel says volunteer fire and rescue squads struggle to get the funding they need.

But a new proposal could change that - with a small tag fee that could make a big difference for people living in Dale County.

For several years, McDaniel has been planning with the county commission to get more funding for their Emergency Medical Services.

“People don't like additional taxes or fees but this is a small, small fee to pay to help lifesaving operations,” he adds.

A $5.00 tag fee. "It’s a win-win for everybody."

A public referendum on the November 2018 ballot will allow voters to approve or reject a tag fee to benefit EMS in the county.

That adds up to around $300,000 a year - split between each EMS in the county.

County Commission Chairman Mark Blankenship says they continue to lose volunteers throughout the county, so any extra help they can get will go a long way.

"This seemed to be a fairly simple way and nobody is paying a tremendous amount of money,” Blankenship says. “Five dollars may look like a lot, but if you're laying out there in the middle of the road waiting on an ambulance, it's not going to look like a lot."

With that money, they could hire someone during the day. That's when medical services struggle the most, because volunteers are at work.

"That’s what the goal is,” added McDaniel, “having quick response and efficient EMS for the entire county."

If the measure passes in November, McDaniel hopes funding will begin in January 2019.