Mechanic Steve Cobb performs general maintenance on one of 18 buses in the Otsego County Bus System.

GAYLORD — The chief of Otsego County's Emergency Medical Service is glad the public appreciates the agency's work, and showed up at the polls to say so.

A millage request for continued EMS service in the county was one of three countywide ballot proposals that passed by comfortable margins Tuesday, where voters also approved extending current tax rates from 2009 through 2013 for the public bus system and the animal control shelter.

"When you win 74 percent of the votes in favor of your service, we are very happy the public supports us and has confidence in us," said Jon Deming, EMS chief.

An EMS tax rate of 0.4 mill and a county bus system levy of 0.25 mill saw approval rates above 70 percent. The vote tallies were 2,349-784 and 2,223-906, respectively. Also approved was 0.3 mill for the county's animal control and shelter operations. It passed with a 64 percent approval of 1,999 to 1,121.

The approved EMS tax is expected to raise an estimated $491,430 in 2009. The bus system tax is expected to raise approximately $307,345, while the animal control levy will generate an estimated $375,084 in 2009.

"It means we're able to continue providing services at a level the community has come to expect. It's not like they're getting a windfall of money. It's more a matter of consistency," said Rachel Frisch, county finance director.

Theron Higgins, bus system manager, said he was also happy with the election results along with about 30 department employees.

"They were fairly nervous, but everybody feels great today," he said Wednesday.

Otsego County public buses provide about 120,000 rides a year, including many to special needs passengers and seniors.

Voter approval of the animal control shelter millage will keep its "no-kill" policy in place, said department director Angel Opperman.

"We're thankful to the voters," she said. "We couldn't do this without the support of the community."

Opperman said extension of the tax levy will provide consistent revenue for the operation, which last year handled about 900 animals.

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