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Newtown Township residents voted to raise property taxes to fund the Newtown Ambulance Squad.
Unofficial election results from Bucks County Wednesday morning showed 57.48% of votes in support, and 42.52% votes opposed.
Newtown Township will now increase property taxes by 0.5 mills, an idea that the Newtown Ambulance Squad (NAS) proposed to the township.
“We’re clearly very pleased with the outcome… The residents chose to support us in a way we’ve been asking for for a very long time,” said Evan Resnikoff, chief of operations for Newtown Ambulance and president of the Bucks County EMS Chiefs’ Association.
“We are very optimistic about the future.”
Resnikoff said the funds are necessary for the organization’s survival.
The ambulance squad has lost a large portion of its staff; it currently has 37 employees — about a quarter of the people it employed five years ago. As a result, the ambulance squad had to cut its second ambulance from seven nights to two and end its transport service, which provided people with rides to doctor’s appointments and nursing homes.
Resnikoff said the squad plans to use the funds from the tax increase to raise staff wages, and leaders hope that will help them keep employees. Resnikoff said the squad pays well below its Bucks County counterparts.
He also said he wants to create retirement plans for staff, and make continuous improvements to the organization.
The ambulance squad serves Newtown Borough and Newtown Township, an area with a total of about 22,000 residents.
Newtown Township residents currently pay 8.49 mills in property taxes, which equates to a tax bill of $370.16 for the owner of a home assessed at $43,600. Newtown Ambulance Squad already gets 0.5 mills of that tax rate.
The increase of 0.5 mills will cost the owner of a home assessed at $43,600 an extra $21.80 per year.
“We’ve been here for 70 years this year,” Resnikoff said. “And we hope to be here for 70 more.”
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