The chief of the Inter City Fire Protection District says voter approval of a pair of questions on Tuesday’s ballot would go a long way toward securing ambulance service in Blue Summit.

The chief of the Inter City Fire Protection District says voter approval of a pair of questions on Tuesday’s ballot would go a long way toward securing ambulance service in Blue Summit.

“For the money, this is a great deal,” said Fire Chief Jeff Jewell.

After MAST Ambulance pulled out of the area several years ago, for-profit AMR stepped in, but Jewell says the company is losing money in Blue Summit, in part because of uncompensated care for a high number of homeless people. At some point, he said, the company likely would have to reconsider whether it wants to do business there.

“So this is huge. We’re in trouble right now,” he said.

The ballot issues allow the fire district to collect a property tax and pay AMR for service calls.

“This will, I think, help shore up AMR’s commitment to the area,” Jewell said.

Two issues are on the ballot. One allows the district to provide ambulance service and collect a property tax of 30 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The second is another 40 cents for ambulance service, specifically to add an emergency medical technician defibrillator program or a paramedic program. Those taxes, officials say, work out to $15 to $100 a year for homes in the district.

There is another benefit for residents if the taxes are approved. The district will pay for their ambulance calls.

“It’s a really good deal, especially for people who don’t have insurance,” Jewell said.

Adding a paramedic service will help recruit firefighters, said Jewell, who is the district’s only full-time firefighter.

“Volunteers are hard to get these days,” he said.

Jewell stressed that officials are happy with AMR and want to see it stay but said if the company were to pull out, the district could start its own ambulance service if needed.

The district has about a 1,000 residents but also has to respond to any emergencies on busy Truman Road passing through the area. It’s also struggling with the loss of an important part of the tax base. Dean Machinery closed its facility in Blue Summit, moving those operations elsewhere in Kansas City.

“This tax will help offset that as well,” Jewell said.