Debating an Ambulance Tax in Benton City - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Debating an Ambulance Tax in Benton City

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BENTON CITY, Wash. -- A debate over emergency services fires up some local voters. But the fight isn't over a new Southridge hospital.

This controversy is not over the building of a hospital but over an ambulance service in Benton City. Richard Delarme was just one of the people who disagrees with a proposed new tax in Benton City that would fund Prosser Memorial Hospital ambulance services.

The tax would cost $0.15 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. The new tax is needed because Medicare and Medicade are not paying for as much of the ambulance service in the area.

But many Benton City residents say they are already paying for an ambulance service locally. They pay a $0.50 on that service.

Prosser Memorial CEO Jim Tavari says, "I think we're sensitive to the people here in Benton City but because of the way the hospital district is designed we have no other choice but to do it this way."

Prosser Memorial officials say that while their ambulances may not be used in Benton City a lot day to day, they are especially important to the city in case of a disaster. The proposed tax will be on the November ballot.