TREMONTON – By Cari Doutre – August 20, 2021
A shortfall in revenues over expense for the Tremonton Fire Department has prompted the Tremonton City to increase property taxes for the 2021-22 fiscal year budget. The additional tax revenue is slated to help fund the city’s fire and EMS department and “make up the gap” of a shortfall of $346,000.
On July 14, 2021, Tremonton City posted a public hearing notice for a proposed 11.81% increase on property taxes. A public Truth in Taxation hearing was held on August 3, and two weeks later, on August 17, members of the Tremonton City Council unanimously voted in favor of increasing property taxes.
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The topic of funding additional fire and EMT staff for the Tremonton Fire Department has been discussed extensively in recent Tremonton City Council meetings. As Tremonton City and surrounding communities have experienced steady growth over the past several years, it has also meant emergency calls for the department has skyrocketed.
That call volume, as well staffing issues with volunteer fire firefighters and EMTs in the department, prompted the city to propose a property tax increase. According to a study by Tremonton City, from 2007-2019 there was a 67% increase in EMT calls. Call volume continues to increase at a steady rate, the city added.
Tremonton City will now hire on-call firefighter and EMS crews that will remain at the fire station in rotating shifts throughout the week. This comes at an additional $200,000 cost per year to the city and taxpayers. The city is also looking at other avenues when it comes to increased revenue and cost cutting within the Tremonton Fire Department.
In November 2020, Tremonton City hired Robert LaCroix as the fire department’s chief for this new full-time paid salary position – a first for any fire chief in Tremonton City. LaCroix was tasked with increasing revenue for the fire department.
Tremonton Fire Department’s $68,000 revenue increase plan includes:
· A $582 rural paramedic fee per EMT call when LaCroix (who has a rural paramedic license) is on call. Estimated yearly revenue: $21,000
· Increasing disposable supplies
· A $175 fee for services rendered when EMTs respond to a call but do not transport a patient. Estimated yearly revenue: $12,000
· Standby charge for special events: Estimated yearly revenue: $8,000
During the May 18, 2021, Tremonton City Council workshop, City Council Minutes 5-18-21 – Tremonton City
City Manager Shawn Warnke stated that by 2025, the city’s annual call volume for fire and EMS will be up to the high 1,400s but could jump higher based on growth in the city. The Tremonton Fire Department currently averages four EMS calls per day while fire calls tend to be more sporadic depending on the year but are still increasing.
Warnke added that in comparing Tremonton City with other Utah cities of similar size, Tremonton is the only city that does not have a staff of full-time firefighters and EMS crews.
For more information on Tremonton City’s property tax increase, click on the links below.
Find Tremonton City’s Annual Implementation Budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year approved during the June 15, 2021, Tremonton City Council meeting, below.