Cambria votes against health tax



Voters did not grant the Cambria Community Healthcare District its special tax wish for the Nov. 6 election, and now the district is looking into other options to fill its funding gap.

Each parcel would have paid $35.04 more in taxes, if two-thirds of the health care district's residents had voted for the special tax. It would have brought in an estimated $236,800 per year for the district to spend on capital assets, ambulances, buildings, and equipment.

Current health care district board President Jerry Wood said (speaking as a resident of the community, not on behalf of the district) that he was disappointed with the outcome of the vote but he understood why the community voted the way it did.

"It didn't have so much to do with the health care district or the tax; it was just extra money that would be coming out of fixed incomes," Wood said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 41 percent of Cambria's 6,032 residents are 65 and older.

Although the tax didn't pass, Wood said that it was just one option that the district was trying to bring in more revenue.

"It's a severe uphill battle. As a board, we decided it was worth making the effort. If you try and get turned down, at least you tried," he said.

The district is currently researching grant opportunities that it can apply for.

New board members Laurie Mileur, Bill Rice, and Iggy Fedoroff will be sworn in to the district this month. Wood said that aside from looking into other funding options, their first order of business is to find a new district administrator.

Bob Sayers, who retired at the end of September, formerly held the position. The district's current director and paramedic Jason Melendy has temporarily taken over the position with the help of the district's services manager, Heidi Holmes-Nagy.

In December, Wood's term as board president will come to an end, but he feels hopeful that once the board begins the process of looking for a new administrator it will find someone who will help with ideas on funding options.

"Right now, we're covered and our response times are equal to or better than the mandated requirements. We have excellent crews that are totally dedicated to their community," he said. Δ

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