Commissioners say no additional funding for ambulance service PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 00:00
    The Washington County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Wednesday, July 15, with all members present.  The minutes of previous meetings, payroll, and all claims were approved unanimously.
    Jim Steggeman and other representative of the EMS Advisory Committee reported their recommendations to the Commissioners for streamlining the ambulance service in light of the current financial situation at the hospital.
    According to Steggeman, the current level of three full time ambulances and crews on duty at all time is not sustainable with the current budget.  Steggeman explained that it would take somewhere in the neighborhood of $400,000 per year to maintain the current level of service to county residents.  It should be noted that the county is required to provide emergency medical service to the community but the level of that service is not spelled out by statute.
    Steggeman asked the Commissioners to approve the closing of the Pekin ambulance station as a cost saving measure noting that the Pekin area would be serviced by ambulances and crews stationed in Salem.
    Commissioner Lana Sullivan and County Attorney Tom Scifres were quick to respond that it was not the Commissioners' place to approve the closing of the Pekin station.
    “We were not asked to approve the opening of the Pekin station so I don't think it appropriate for us to be asked to approve its closing.” commented Sullivan.
    She went on to say, “We are required to provide EMS for the county.  We are, in no way, experts at determining what is the best way to serve the county in that manner.  That is why we contracted with the hospital to do it.  We have proposed $300,000 in the 2010 budget for ambulance service.  If that is approved by both the County Council and the Department of Local Government Finance then that will be the number.  If that amount is cut by either one of them, then we will have to live with resulting number.”
    Steggeman stated that the cost of two full time ambulances and crews would be approximately $300,00 per year; currently, the county provides $266,000 per year.   Steggeman went on to say that efforts are ongoing to find ways of cutting costs.  Steggeman also introduced Troy Nicholson as Interim EMS Director replacing Michael Medlock who resigned last week.
    In other business, the Commissioners took the following action:
Approved a request to correct information on a deed for WCMH
Address concerns about protesters at county fair
Approve transfer of .98 miles of old Highway 135 north of Short's Corner Road from the state to the county
Expression of support for Salem Airport and Lucas Oil project
Discussion of calling for investigation into WCMH financial records
Approval of several grant payments for public works projects
Announcement of public hearing on Comprehensive Land Use Plan on August 19
Decision not to meet in executive session with County Council on July 16 to discuss Salem Airport-Lucas Oil and WCMH
    With no further business to conduct, the Commissioners adjourned until their next regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, August 5.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 08:09