SOUTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Southampton residents voted against raising their property taxes that would have paid for a second shift for ambulance services in town on Monday. The Fire Department will now need to find another way to fund their services.
There were two questions on the ballot that was rejected. The first was a $135,000 property tax increase for the ambulance service and the second was a move to convert the town treasurer from an elected position to an appointed position.
About 16% of registered voters cast their ballot.
Southampton Fire Chief John Workman told 22News the selectman had signed a contract with the state for advanced level ambulance service, but when that contract was signed there was no funding put in place for it.
“They’re all volunteers that come from home 16 hours of the day. Sometimes that’s a challenge even though I’ve increased the membership of the department it’s still a challenge, this is a second or third job for all these folks,” said Chief Workman”. I’m the only full time on the department and then it’s 40 members that are call, they get paid by the hour and we provide advanced level ambulance cover age and fire service with 40 people for 6,000 residents.”
To cover the $135,000 tax it would have cost the owner of a $250,000 home roughly $50.
There were no contested races on the ballot.
Southampton is an on call fire department with the exception of the chief.