According to Iowa code, each community in the state is required to have fire protection but new bill that has been proposed in the legislature would also require cities to have Emergency Medical Service as well.
Knoxville Fire Chief Mike Roberts says a lot of people in Marion County are likely unaware that this is not currently required by law simply because EMS has been kept alive in the area. The proposed legislation states that if a community does not have the services available within their city, they must contract out the services to an agency nearby.
Roberts says cost for this requirement will be an issue as the bill includes a tax increase of 80 cents per thousand with an additional 20 cents possible. He says with the economy the way it is, the last thing residents want to see is an increase in taxes. Roberts says overall he has mixed feelings about the bill because the state of Iowa deserves to have ambulance services though he does not think now is a good time to raise taxes.
Currently, EMS services in Knoxville receive no tax dollars from the City or township area, instead they operate on the money billed to patient’s insurance companies. Smaller communities in the state who are unable to have their own department would need the tax revenue to be able to pay for the contracted services and Roberts worries that Marion County and the state of Iowa may not be ready for that yet.