HOWARD, Wis. (WFRV) – Voters in the Village of Howard have a big decision to make to determine whether to pass a referendum that would improve emergency services.

If it passes, the village would hire seven full-time paramedic firefighters, and increase police patrol between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Village Administrator Paul Evert says, “You hope you never need the ambulance at your house, but when the ambulance is needed, you hope it gets there fast. We don’t see any other funding sources coming up in the future. It’s at the point now we decided, ‘We have to go tell the story to our taxpayers and get their support because there isn’t anybody else that’s gonna take care of this problem.'”

The referendum, if passed, would also ensure the village has an ambulance close by at all times. Evert tells Local 5 the village sometimes has to rely on another community’s EMS, so an ambulance that is housed in Howard would cut down emergency response time.

The biggest concern with the proposal is how much it will cost. The referendum would require homeowners to pay an additional $33-$99 per year depending on the value of their property. While that may worry some voters, public safety director Ed Janke assures it would be a worthy investment.

“20 years ago, we were only taking 200 calls, and now we’re taking well over 1,200 calls, so the demands have definitely increased. We have leveraged every possible opportunity that we have, there’s just nothing left, we have nothing left to squeeze out of our organization,” Janke says.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office will also provide another patrol officer for the Howard community if the referendum is passed.

Sheriff Todd Delain says, “It is important that we’re able to respond in a timely manner, and having those resources to do that really aids us.”

The final day to vote on the referendum is Tuesday, April 4th.