Raytown officials vote to transfer EMS to fire department to improve response times

RAYTOWN, Mo. — The Raytown Board of Aldermen and the Raytown Fire Protection District Board of Directors voted in favor of a plan to transfer EMS to the fire department Tuesday evening.

Officials said the move would increase efficiency and decrease response times.

Current EMS employees would have to complete fire training to sign on with the Raytown Fire Protection District. The fire department has offered hiring preference to those employees. 

However, at a board of aldermen meeting last week, the president of the union that represents both firefighters and paramedics criticized a lack of transparency in the transfer process.

"What we do not agree with and what we do not understand is a complete lack of communication or exclusion from a decision-making process that we have a demonstrable and vested prerogative to be included in as a representative of those employees," Local 1730 President Taylor Seedorff said.

Similarly, Raytown EMS Director Doug Jonesi lamented that his department had not had a chance to respond to the proposal.

"The facts and figures cited this afternoon are in error," Jonesi said at last Tuesday's meeting.

The transfer will eventually need to be approved by voters, who would also weigh in on a 15 to 19 cent levy to fund EMS. For a property valued at $100,000, that would mean $38 a year. 

Some residents we spoke with aren't keen on the idea of paying more in taxes.

"I think the taxes are a little high, and if they keep going, I will sell my house and leave the city," Christopher Jackson, who has lived in Raytown for five years, said.

It's unclear if the fire levy will pass, considering Raytown voters shut down three tax proposals in August. 

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