Last month, voters shot down an $85 annual household fee to reimburse cities making those emergency runs. Now, the discussion is shifting to a possible millage, an 8-cent sales tax and private companies providing the service. The most talked about option, according to Benton County Judge Bob Clinard, is having unincorporated areas start their own EMS districts.
The Beaver Lake Fire Department is trying to add ambulance services so they would serve the east side of the lake, but each rural area would have to take the issue to a vote.
As for finding funds to cover the balance for the rest of this year, Clinard said that will be addressed at the Finance Committee Meeting on April 1. More than $236,000 from the county's budget was already approved to help pay for the service this year. $450,000 was taken from the Benton County Road Department's paving budget. That leaves a balance of $256,339 to keep the rural ambulance service running through 2014.