St. Charles County budget cuts causing delayed ambulance response times
ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO (KTVI)– It all started with a budget shortfall in 2010, since then Marty Limpert with the St. Charles County Ambulance District says they’ve been fighting budget cuts that forced them close stations and lose staff.
“We lost 3 ½ million dollars in revenue 3 ambulances in 2010. In 2012, we put an issue on the ballot for a tax increase it failed by 1 percent. In July of last year, we had to cut in the Darden Prairie area and close a base in Cottleville. We are down 13 EMT`s right now and have an issue on the ballot on April 8th. If successful we will try to re-staff those positions,” said Limpert.
Officials want to make it clear that the ambulance budget is separate from the fire districts. 16 to 20 vehicles are on the road at 24-7 answering over 100 calls per day. The district just released a map to illustrate areas in red that have 1 to 5 minute delays.
“Response times have increased as calls continue to come into that region, ambulances coming from other regions,” Limpert said.
Right now there are 145 paramedics covering 585 miles. If the ballot issue fails more cuts are expected.
“Right now 35 percent of our revenue comes from taxes and 65 percent comes from user fees. Our best asset is an informed voter,” he said.