One of the Memorial Regional Hospital ambulances sits in its garage near the hospital.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press
In what can arguably be called Moffat County’s most controversial decision on this year’s ballot, ballot measures 6A and 6B, which would have created a health services district in the county, failed in Tuesday’s election.
According to numbers from the county clerk, 57.6% of voters voted no on 6A and 42.4% voted yes. For 6B, 32.28% approved the measure, but 67.72% rejected it.
“Our community had an opportunity in front of us to take control of our EMS services and provide much needed stable footing for this critical service. While we are disappointed by tonight’s results, we are grateful for everyone who supported this campaign,” campaign coordinator Melissa Doubrava said in a statement. “We cannot win them all. But we do know that there are hundreds of community members we’ve talked to and met on the campaign who wholeheartedly support this measure. They understand what’s at stake if our EMS services were to be reduced.”
For months Memorial Regional Hospital has warned of the cost EMS has put on its finances. According to statements from the hospital, EMS and ambulance services run a $600,000 deficit every year. MRH administrators have said publicly multiple times that it may not be able to support 24/7 EMS services to the community.
6A and 6B would have also allotted an ambulance to the community of Dinosaur, which currently counts on services from Utah to provide emergency services to citizens. Those against the initiatives claimed that MRH was too involved in creating the HSD and its plan.
“We’ve failed Dinosaur. When someone is in an emergency, they rely on an ambulance from Utah,” the statement read. “They live everyday knowing emergency medical attention is a 45 minute call away – and that’s if Utah has the capacity to respond. This should not be the reality for our neighbors. We can do this better.
“The closure of the mine and the power plant is on the horizon. This will undoubtedly shake our community to its core, but we can prepare for what we know is coming and secure reliable, sustainable EMS services. We plan to ask voters next year to once again support an independent EMS district. This is our chance to control a little peace of the future and ensure that EMS will always be there when you call.”
6A and 6B would have increased the mill levy by 2.5 mills on property taxes, roughly $35 per year for those who have property worth $200,000.
In 6B, the HSD would have been organized by a five-person board of directors. Five people ran for five seats on the prospective HSD board.
Those five people were Ryan Hess, a Craig city councilman who was also the only candidate for Craig mayor, Alicia Noland, Jacie Jourgenson, both Craig residents, Clint Jantz, a Maybell resident, and Nichole Becker, a Dinosaur resident.