Ambulance Association Supports Tax Increase for Second, Ninth Districts

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (December 28, 2017)—The St. Mary's County Ambulance and Rescue Association (SMCARA) has thrown its support behind a controversial request for an increase in the fire and rescue tax for the Second District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad in Valley Lee.

"Recent discussion within the Second District community has questioned the [Valley Lee volunteers'] statement about the increased costs of medical supplies and MedStar St. Mary's Hospital's replacement of those supplies," wrote SMCARA Chair Joe Wilkinson to the Commissioners of St. Mary's County in a Nov. 26 missive. "All the squads pay for numerous supplies from their operating budgets including, but not limited to, hemostatic dressings, head blocks, glucometer supplies, safety glasses, hearing protection and expired medications.

"These supplies put a great strain on the squads' budgets."

The request from the Valley Lee station is to help defray the costs of medical supplies and the ever increasing expenses for operations but they are also planning on building an entirely new facility just behind the current 56 year old station, which volunteers say is long overdue.

The cost of a new station comes in at about $8 million but many residents have said they do not want the tax increase and publicly questioned whether the volunteers needed a new station.

The proposed increase would take the 4.4 percent fire tax rate for the 2nd District and raise it to 5.6 percent; the same tax rate for the 9th District would rise from 3.6 percent to 5 percent.

The rescue tax, 0.8 percent for both districts, would more than double under the new plan by going to 1.7 percent.

The fire and rescue tax rate there has not changed since 2000.

Firehouse officials estimated the annual increase in the tax bill for homeowners with an average house assessed value of about $300,000, would be a little over $60.

The leadership at the Valley Lee station are expected to make their formal request for a tax increase to the county commissioners in January.

One organized citizen's group against the proposed tax increased is Concerned Citizens of Second and Ninth District.

You can read their letters to the editor in the forums:

or visit them on facebook:

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