FARMINGTON — Voters will soon decide whether or not area residents will continue paying a gross receipts tax that funds emergency medical services and communications.

The Emergency Communications and Emergency Medical and Behavioral Services Tax election is Tuesday. The same convenience centers the county used for the presidential election will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The county has collected the tax since 2003, when voters overwhelmingly approved an ordinance that imposed the tax. The measure passed 2,341 votes to 670 during a special election in March of that year.

Despite it's popularity the first time around, there is concern among local governments the tax will not be as well received during this election. If approved it will allow the county to collect the tax indefinitely, said County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter.

Government officials said they are already preparing to take the steps needed to come up with ways to replace the tax.

"We're not taking anything for granted. There's a lot more concern this go-around than there was the first time," Carpenter said. "Would things be chopped? Yes. To what degree ... a large part of that is how our county commission would want to prioritize."

The tax amounts to 0.18 percent of all gross receipts in San Juan County. The most the tax ever generated was $8.3 million in 2009. It is expected to bring in $7.1 million this year.

Revenue from the tax funds San Juan Regional Medical Center Emergency Medical Services and the county's emergency dispatch center.


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The tax amounts to nearly half of the hospital program's annual budget.

The program had a $6.1 million budget in 2011 and $2.9 million came from the EMS tax, according to the program's most recent annual report.

The rest of the tax funding goes to the county's communications center, which handles all 911 calls. The center has seen a significant increase in calls for service in the last 10 years, Carpenter said.

"I think it helps give voters the confidence that when they vote they know where (the tax money) is going to go to," said Linda Thompson, the county's chief financial officer.

Carpenter has said the commission may have to consider raising property taxes or cutting services if voters strike down this gross receipt tax.

"We would have our own county-wide sequestration," he said.

If voters end the tax, local governments would fall back on a past agreement where Farmington and San Juan County each paid 44 percent of the ambulance and communications services and Aztec and Bloomfield each paid 6 percent of the services.

Carpenter said a gross receipt tax is a fair way to fund ambulance and 911 services because people who don't pay property taxes in San Juan County use the services.

During early and absentee voting, 1,065 San Juan County voters cast a ballot, according to the clerk's office.

When the EMS tax was up for election in 2003 for the first time, 1,010 voters cast early ballots.

Ryan Boetel can be reached at rboetel@daily-times.com; 564-4644. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel

Break-out box information

Polls are opened from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters can go to any polling place

Voting places

Farmington City Hall

800 Municipal Dr., Farmington

Farmington Museum at Gateway Park

3041 E Main St., Farmington

Farmington Public Library

2101 Farmington Ave., Farmington

San Juan County Housing/Water Commission

7450 E. Main St., Farmington

McGee Park

41 CR 5568

Bloomfield Cultural Center

333 S. First St., Bloomfield

Dzilth-Na-O-Dith-Hle Fire Station

45 miles south of Bloomfield on U.S. 550

San Juan County Fire Operations Center

209 S. Oliver Dr., Aztec

Sanostee Chapter Facilities

9 miles west of U.S. 491 on Indian Service Route 34, Sanostee

Central Schools Business Office

South of U.S. 64 in Shiprock

Newcomb Fire Station

NM #56.5 U.S. 491, Newcomb

Ruth N. Bond Elementary

5 CR 6575, Kirtland

La Plata Community Center

1438 N.M. 170, La Plata

By Ryan Boetel

The Daily Times

FARMINGTON Voters will soon decide whether or not area residents will continue paying a gross receipts tax that funds emergency medical services and communications. 

The Emergency Communications and Emergency Medical and Behavioral Services Tax election is Tuesday. The same convenience centers the county used for the presidential election will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The county has collected the tax since 2003, when voters overwhelmingly approved an ordinance that imposed the tax. The measure passed 2,341 votes to 670 during a special election in March of that year.

Despite it's popularity the first time around, there is concern among local governments the tax will not be as well received during this election. If approved it will allow the county to collect the tax indefinitely, said County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter.

Government officials said they are already preparing to take the steps needed to come up with ways to replace the tax.

"We're not taking anything for granted. There's a lot more concern this go-around than there was the first time," Carpenter said. "Would things be chopped? Yes. To what degree ... a large part of that is how our county commission would want to prioritize."

The tax amounts to 0.18 percent of all gross receipts in San Juan County. The most the tax ever generated was $8.3 million in 2009. It is expected to bring in $7.1 million this year.

Revenue from the tax funds San Juan Regional Medical Center Emergency Medical Services and the county's emergency dispatch center.

The tax amounts to nearly half of the hospital program's annual budget.

The program had a $6.1 million budget in 2011 and $2.9 million came from the EMS tax, according to the program's most recent annual report.

The rest of the tax funding goes to the county's communications center, which handles all 911 calls. The center has seen a significant increase in calls for service in the last 10 years, Carpenter said.

"I think it helps give voters the confidence that when they vote they know where (the tax money) is going to go to," said Linda Thompson, the county's chief financial officer.

Carpenter has said the commission may have to consider raising property taxes or cutting services if voters strike down this gross receipt tax.

"We would have our own county-wide sequestration," he said.

If voters end the tax, local governments would fall back on a past agreement where Farmington and San Juan County each paid 44 percent of the ambulance and communications services and Aztec and Bloomfield each paid 6 percent of the services.

Carpenter said a gross receipt tax is a fair way to fund ambulance and 911 services because people who don't pay property taxes in San Juan County use the services.

During early and absentee voting, 1,065 San Juan County voters cast a ballot, according to the clerk's office.

When the EMS tax was up for election in 2003 for the first time, 1,010 voters cast early ballots.

Ryan Boetel can be reached at rboetel@daily-times.com; 564-4644. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel

Break-out box information

Polls are opened from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters can go to any polling place

Voting places

Farmington City Hall

800 Municipal Dr., Farmington

Farmington Museum at Gateway Park

3041 E Main St., Farmington

Farmington Public Library

2101 Farmington Ave., Farmington

San Juan County Housing/Water Commission

7450 E. Main St., Farmington

McGee Park

41 CR 5568

Bloomfield Cultural Center

333 S. First St., Bloomfield

Dzilth-Na-O-Dith-Hle Fire Station

45 miles south of Bloomfield on U.S. 550

San Juan County Fire Operations Center

209 S. Oliver Dr., Aztec

Sanostee Chapter Facilities

9 miles west of U.S. 491 on Indian Service Route 34, Sanostee

Central Schools Business Office

South of U.S. 64 in Shiprock

Newcomb Fire Station

NM #56.5 U.S. 491, Newcomb

Ruth N. Bond Elementary

5 CR 6575, Kirtland

La Plata Community Center

1438 N.M. 170, La Plata