City of Whitewater to Hold November 2022 EMS Staffing Referendum
On November 8, 2022, voters in the City of Whitewater will be asked whether or not to increase the property tax levy to support the City’s share of EMS staffing improvements.
Whitewater Fire and EMS provides fire and EMS services to the City and Town of Whitewater, and the Towns of Cold Spring, Koshkonong, Lima Center, and Richmond. Under the proposed EMS staffing recommendations, each community would pay its fair share of a $1.48M increase in funding, beginning in 2023. The City of Whitewater’s share of the increase, based on a calculation that takes into account the equalized value of a community, and a five-year average of EMS call volume, would be $1.1M.
For decades, fire and EMS response relied on a paid-on-call staffing model. This model, which depends on on-call staff to leave their homes or jobs to respond first to the station, then to the incident, is no longer providing an adequate level of service to Whitewater. In 2021, a large number of EMS calls were answered by a neighboring community, resulting in longer response times to Whitewater residents.
If approved, the increased funding would support up to 17 full-time, paid-on-premises firefighter/EMTs. Seventeen full time staff would make it possible to have a fully staffed, onsite EMS response 24/7, helping to address increased calls for service, surging response times and a lack of available paid-on-call staff.
Impact on Local Homeowners
In November, City of Whitewater residents will be asked whether they support an increased property tax levy of $1.1M to fund improved EMS staffing. If approved, the annual tax impact would be an increase of $67 per $100K home value in Walworth County and a $52 annual increase per $100K home value in Jefferson County. This increase takes into account reduced mill rates tied to increasing levy limits by the amount allowable by state law and the closing of tax incremental districts (TIDs).
Make an Informed Decision
In the coming weeks and months, City and department officials will be working to educate the community about the need for improved staffing, the costs associated with its recommended staffing plan and the upcoming referendum.
Attend an Information Session
Join us to learn more at the following public information sessions:
- Wednesday, 9/21 at 6 PM at the Whitewater University Innovation Center located at 1221 Innovation Dr.
- Saturday, 10/8 at 10 AM at the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library located at 431 W. Center St.
- Tuesday, 10/11 at 5 PM at the Whitewater Fire Station located at 312 W. Whitewater St.