Editorial: Vote yes on Williams Bay and Fontana EMS referendums
Since June, the Village of Williams Bay has contracted with the Village of Fontana for the Fontana Fire Department to provide its residents and visitors with paid professional 24-hour emergency medical service (EMS). Williams Bay and Fontana are both going to referendum on Nov. 8 to levy beyond their state-imposed levy limits to each fund the equivalent of seven full-time EMS positions, 14 total, to provide 24-hour EMS service to the two communities.
On Nov. 8, Williams Bay and Fontana will have more than state and national seats to vote for.
Residents will be asked if they are willing to increase their village tax rates to pay for EMS services.
No one wants their taxes to go up. But pretend it was a different question on the ballot.
How long do you want to wait for EMS service if you or your loved one is in crisis?
Wouldn't you vote for the quickest option? That can be the difference between life and death.
In past years, many fire and EMS departments statewide and around the country depended on dedicated volunteers to fill these crucial EMS roles.
The reality is that times have changed and there are not as many people stepping up to volunteer.
At the same time, call volume has not decreased. That means something needs to be done.
After extensive discussions and many meetings, both Williams Bay and Fontana decided the best option was for the two communities to collaborate and create a joint force that could provide 24-hour emergency medical services to both communities.
Under the EMS proposal, each village would go to referendum to cover the costs of hiring additional FTE EMS personnel for the Fontana Fire Department to provide EMS services to the two communities.
If this referendum doesn't pass, what will happen? That hasn't yet been made clear. Likely rescue services would be drastically reduced along with other services.
At the end of the day, when residents go to vote they’ll need to determine their priorities.
No one wants taxes to go up, but the reality is that emergency services is one of the most vital services a community provides.
Our hope is that residents in both Fontana and Williams Bay will vote yes on this referendum.
A giant flag was held up by two fire truck ladders at the entrance of the 2022 Walworth County National Night Out celebration at the Walworth County fairgrounds.
One of the Walworth County Sheriff's Office K-9s bites a "suspect" during a demonstration at Walworth County's National Night Out.
A Walworth County Sheriff's Office K-9 demonstrates apprehending a suspect.
A K-9 crew demonstrates apprehending a suspect at National Night Out.
Wayne Blanchard poses with his wife Angela Blanchard at National Night Out on Aug. 2, 2022. A year before, Wayne Blanchard nearly died when he was hit by an impaired driver while working for the Walworth County Sheriff's Office. It's been a long recovery, but he is grateful to be alive.
Above: Members of Whitewater Fire and EMS demonstrate what it is like to be loaded into an ambulance at the 2022 National Night Out. Below: One of the Walworth County Sheriff's Office K-9s bites a "suspect" during a demonstration at Walworth County's National Night Out.
Above: A group climbs up on top of a fire truck during the 2022 Walworth County National Night Out celebration. Below: Brayden Cook, 5, of Elkhorn, holds up a police shield during the 2022 Walworth County National Night Out celebration.
Ellen Schutt, left, who is running for Assembly, smiles on top of a fire truck during the 2022 Walworth County National Night Out.
Brayden Cook, 5, of Elkhorn, holds up a police shield during the 2022 Walworth County National Night Out celebration.
Lincoln Cook, 5, of Elkhorn, tries on police equipment at National Night Out, including a helmet, vest and shield.
Kids pet one of the horses at National Night Out. The horse was part of the Whitewater Area Mounted Search Team and Rescue.
The Regional News editorial board consists of General Manager Robert Ireland, Editor Stephanie Jones and community members Patrick Quinn and Elizabeth Lupo DiVito.
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