arkville’s Board of Aldermen extended its unanimous support to a resolution to join with other nearby municipalities and unincorporated areas of Platte County to form the Southern Platte County Ambulance District at its meeting on Tuesday evening.
The city was enthusiastic following the vote, as addressing inadequacies with its current provider has been a high priority for the board and Mayor Kathryn Dusenbery.
“I’ll be very happy to sign this resolution,” Dusenbery exclaimed.
The newly-proposed district was offered as a means to improve emergency services to the city, including lowering response times and providing more dedicated ambulances within the district‘s boundaries. The formation of the district will afford participating localities more leverage in negotiations with their current emergency provider, the Metropolitan Ambulatory Services Trust (MAST).
If approved, the district will be funded through a dedicated property tax, which requires approval by a majority of voters within the district’s boundaries. It will be governed by a board of directors and will provide the participating localities with the ability to appoint a representative to MAST’s board.
Weatherby Lake and Houston Lake already approved the district’s formation. Dusenbery told The Landmark that the participating localities and the amount of the tax hike, which should be nominal, is still undetermined.
The district’s board will be empowered to enter into a contract with a provider. The city previously entertained proposals from alternative service providers. Dusenbery, however, believes that the district will retain MAST’s services. She reported that the new director of the Trust indicated that he is not interested in negotiating with individual municipalities and will only enter discussions with the district.
A petition drive has already been started. Dusenbery expects to have enough signatures by Thanksgiving to ensure the measure a spot on next April’s ballot.
Alderman Dave Rittman has repeatedly voiced his discontent with MAST because of its response times and lack of presence within the community. Meanwhile, while he expressed his personal approval to the resolution, Rittman abstained from voting. His chairmanship of the Platte County Tax Equalization Board presented a possible conflict in consideration of recent findings by the Missouri Ethics Commission. He opted to act with discretion, as the proposed board would be a taxing entity and he was unable to consult with the city attorney prior to the vote.
Dusenbery was able to witness the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast first-hand as she visited Ocean Springs, Mississippi this past weekend. Parkville adopted the sister city after it was leveled by Hurricane Katrina.
“I have a great admiration for their city and their mayor,” Dusenbery announced.
After meeting with some of the top city planners and architects in the world who were on hand for the rebuilding, she reported that Parkville remains ahead of future trends for suburban cities.
The National Volvo Association presented the city with a $500 check for the city’s relief effort. The monies were collected at a recent community event that was held in the city.