By Sarah Elmquist Squires

Managing Editor

Fremont County is not alone in its struggle to fund ambulance services – the county is paying about $2 million to subsidize the program now. During the last legislative session, state leaders approved a measure that would allow Emergency Medical Service Districts to be established and collect property taxes to fund ambulance programs, but with property taxes carrying more and more of the burden to fund services, is that the way to go? 

Fremont County Commissioners want to hear from you. The commission has established an EMS Exploratory Committee to mull funding options for ambulance services, and applications are now being accepted to serve on the committee. 

The committee will examine previous studies from 2015 that include information about the costs associated with the previous county-run service, and will mull funding sources like sales taxes, an EMS district, soliciting funds from municipalities and tribes – even reverting back to a county-run program again. 

While establishing an EMS district to collect taxes is one solution, commissioners discussed the issue of the “boom and bust” nature of property valuations. With the county’s assessed value now at just over $1 billion, a two-mill levy would raise $2 million. But Fremont County Commissioner Mike Jones asked what if the valuation slips back to $560 million, like it did several years ago?

“In 2016 when the county had the ambulance operation, our budget was $3.5 million. It was a fee-for-service operation and we billed back to Medicaid and Medicare but never covered the cost of the service. From the county we paid $650,000 on top of that so $4 million to $4.5 million total,” recalled Jones. “My guess is, the total cost of the system now is probably around $5 million; we’re paying a $2 million subsidy to run the service today.”

When the county’s contract with Guardian ambulance expired, it sought new bids, and after months, contracted with Priority Ambulance of Knoxville, East Tennessee, for what’s now known as Frontier Ambulance. The county subsidizes the service by funding the ambulance stations and vehicles, but declining reimbursements – now at about 67% – is putting pressure on the system. 

Commissioners are seeking two applicants from each commissioner district for the new committee, who will serve along with Fremont County Treasurer Jim Anderson, County Clerk Julie Freese and County Assessor Tara Berg and Commissioners Larry Allen and Mike Jones. 

“We need a broader view of this,” Jones said about organizing a committee to study ambulance services funding. “We have big issues to wrestle with.”

If you’d like to apply to serve on the committee, visit to apply. Those with questions may call 307-332-1130. The application deadline is August 22, though if positions are not filled, the commission may consider late applications. Applications may be mailed to Fremont County Commissioners, Fremont County Courthouse, 450 N. 2nd St., Room 205, Lander, WY 82520 or email