The Michigan House Appropriations Committee recently approved Rep. Andrea Schroeder’s proposal to protect local emergency response providers from unexpected fees assessed by the state.
Schroeder appeared before the committee with retired Waterford Township fire chief John Lyman, who brought the important issue to Schroeder’s attention.
Lyman – who served the Waterford community for 33 years before retiring this summer – contacted Schroeder after appealing a fee of nearly $4,000 assessed to Waterford Township’s ambulance operations. The fee was intended to cover the cost of participation in Michigan’s Quality Assurance Assessment Program, which assists in funding the state’s Medicaid program.
Schroeder said while the fee itself is valid, the township was not properly notified of the fee – resulting in an unanticipated budget shortfall. Her proposal – House Bill 4830 – is designed to prevent this situation from occurring in the future by requiring the state to notify local governments, hospitals, and ambulance providers about the ambulance service fee by Nov. 1 of each year.
“This is a great example of the solutions government can provide when local and state leaders work together,” said Schroeder, of Oakland County’s Independence Township. “This is a simple solution to ensure our local governments get the information they need when they need it to balance their budgets. It will help municipalities continue to provide the essential services residents rely on every day.”
Lyman said better communication between the state and local governments would have wide-ranging benefits.
“Local governments – just like the state – are responsible for taxpayer money. It’s imperative that we have proper knowledge and understanding about any program that’s going to take money from our budgets,” Lyman said. “As government partners, we should work together when new fees are going to be instituted. Positive communication between Lansing and local municipalities helps avoid misunderstanding and miscommunication. It’s truly beneficial to help everyone understand what new taxes or fees are going toward and the reasons behind them.”
HB 4830 was voted out of the House Appropriations Committee with unanimous support and now advances to the House floor for further consideration.