Fire/EMS Ballot Issue

On May 8, 2018, Hudson voters will be asked to decide on Issue 8, a proposed municipal income tax re-designation for Hudson Fire/EMS, which is not a tax increase. The City of Hudson following are  answers to questions and more information to help voters make their decision on this important issue.

What is Issue 8?

Issue 8 is not a new tax. Instead, it would reallocate a portion of a 1% income tax that was approved by voters in 2004.

If passed, Issue 8 would combine tax income currently designated as separate Fire and EMS funds into one fund for both Fire and EMS. Issue 8 proposes combing the current tax allocations (15% for the Fire Department and 9% for EMS) into one fund (24%) for both Fire and EMS which could be allocated based on need.

Why is Issue 8 on the May Ballot?

Issue 8 has been placed on the ballot as a way to maintain Hudson's volunteer EMS without raising taxes in the short term. In 2004, the original 9% allocated for EMS was appropriate for the primarily volunteer EMS at that time. However, over the past five years, the annual EMS call volume has increased from 1,200 to more than 1,700. As Hudson's population ages, the demand for EMS services most likely will continue to increase. 

At the same time, volunteerism is at an all-time low, down from 60 volunteers in 2005 to 22 in 2016.  This mirrors a major drop in volunteerism nationwide.The increased call volume and fewer volunteers has created a need to hire additional compensated paramedics/emergency medical technicians to fill the 24/7 EMS shifts. To maintain the City's current service levels in EMS, it has required dipping into the City's General Fund to help sustain the EMS operation.

The Hudson Fire Department has continued to have a strong volunteer base, and the 15% of the Issue 3 income tax money allocated to Hudson Fire is more than is needed to fund the operations of the Fire Department.

Reallocating the current taxes into one fund for both Fire and EMS, will help the underfunded EMS service while not negatively impacting the quality or services provided by the Fire Department.
Fire-EMS Ballot Issue Infographic

Current Allocation                            (approved by voters in 2004)

Issue 3 in 2004 (1% increase) Percent
Park System
Community Learning Center (in conjunction with Hudson City Schools)
Hudson Fire Department
Hudson EMS
General Operations/Capital Improvements (Roads, Storm Water)

Proposed Ballot Issue Allocation (no additional taxes)

Proposed Allocation of that 1% Percent
Park System
Community Learning Center (in conjunction with Hudson City Schools)
Hudson Fire and EMS
General Operations/Capital Improvements (Roads, Storm Water)

Will My Income Taxes Increase if Issue 8 is Passed?

No. There will be no income tax increase as a result of passing this ballot issue.

Will Issue 8 Issue Hurt the Hudson Fire Department?

No. Currently the Fire Department has a strong volunteer base and has more funding than it currently needs.  It will not hurt current operations or the capital reserves for the Fire Department. The current Fire Department reserves will be restricted for future capital needs of the Fire Department.

Will Fire and EMS Operations be Combined as a Result of Passage of this Issue?

No. The Hudson Fire Department and Hudson EMS will remain separate entities.

How Was EMS' Sustainability Examined?

In March of 2017, the EMS Sustainability Committee was formed to review EMS and prepare a report for City Council on staffing, funding, and sustainability of Hudson EMS.

The committee, led by James Boex, PhD, MBA, included members of EMS, the Fire Department and City staff, examined changes in the demand for, supply of, and financing of EMS that have led to sustainability concerns. 

View the EMS Sustainability Report.

Use arrows to advance slideshow. Click on images to enlarge.

What Solutions to Help Sustain EMS Were Considered?

The Sustainability Committee looked at several options for sustaining EMS, including combining Fire and EMS (currently separate services with separate funding sources), privatizing EMS, and reducing staffing.  It was determined none of these options were viable solutions to sustain Hudson EMS.

The Committee recommended that in 2018 the City combine the Fire and EMS funds into a single allocation of 24% of the 1% tax increase. The combined fund would allow the City to distribute funds between the two services as needed. Combining Fire and EMS funds into a single allocation would require a vote of the people. Combining the Fire and EMS funds would:

  • Help stabilize EMS in the short term with no new taxes.
  • Have no negative impact on current Fire Department operations.
  • Allow the Fire/EMS Chief and City Council to make decisions about expense allocations based on actual need to support both services.

What Has Been Done to Help Maintain the Financial Viability of EMS?

Over the years, the City has instituted a number of initiatives to help sustain Hudson EMS.

  • Improved ambulance billing collection.
  • Increased volunteer recruiting efforts.
  • Enhanced the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) to encourage volunteer retention.
  • Restructured EMS Administration, combined the Fire/EMS Chief.

When and Where do I Vote?

For more information about the May 8, 2018 election, visit Voting Information.