Representatives for the Tucker County Ambulance Authority attended the Tucker County Commission meeting on June 10 to request additional funding of $40,000 and to accept the commission’s offer to hire a consultant to look at the authority’s operation.
Larry Armbruster speaking for the authority stated, “The ambulance authority met in a special meeting Monday, July 1 and produced and passed a revised budget. The first thing I will say is that budget was passed with a resolution, a provision that it had to be revised in 90 days.” He went on to state that a budget was passed and it is balanced, but that it lacks some things. The 90 day provision is for funding the additional four hours at Station 2 and employee pay raises and it is dependent upon two things: the consultant and some additional funding.
Armbruster said, “The board decided not to, at this time, close Station 2.” He went on to discuss his concerns over the budget stating, “I’m not the least bit happy with this budget, because I think there are some potential flaws in it, mainly the amount of medical insurance coverage in it.” He went on the state that there is some concern about utilities for all of our stations, and about buildings and grounds and maintenance of our fleet. Adding, “A big concern is in the amount of provisions for the unemployment and workman’s comp.” He also expressed concern with the projected cash for billing, stating “I think it is overly optimistic, however, it is something we can live with for 90 days.”
Armbruster commented,” Contrary to our director, I’m not necessarily satisfied with just the 12 hour coverage in the upper part of the county. I keep getting anecdotal stories that calls are missed or delayed and this occurs when a crew has to be called out. Even under the best of circumstances, calling a crew out is going to delay response to a call. Quite frankly, the only way to guarantee and this isn’t even a guarantee; appropriate coverage is with two crews 24/7. How many failures are we allowed to occur on missing ambulance calls? Is 50% acceptable? No. Is 25% acceptable? No. Where do we draw the line? And that line gets drawn wherever somebody puts a dollar sign.”
Rosenau told Mr. Armbruster, “Larry, in the talk that you just gave to us, I’m glad that some things have changed. Because, I for one as a commissioner, I’m glad that you’re not talking about closing Station 2. I’m glad that you’re looking at 24 hour coverage on the mountain, instead of just 12, like you were talking about at the last meeting. So I’m happy with those revisions to your budget.”
Armbruster clarified, “Station 2 is not out from under consideration. It’s only delayed until we look at what’s going to happen in 90 days. So don’t say that Station 2 is staying open.” Rosenau replied, “Oh, I’m not saying it’s closing either, so there you go.”
After some further discussion on the breakdown of the requested funding, the commission voted to fund the Ambulance Authority’s request of an additional $40,000 with $20,000 to be used for a 40 cent-per-hour raise for employees for 12 months and $10,000 to be used for the additional four hours coverage at Station 2 for 90 days and the other $10,000 to fill the remaining deficit. The commission also will be bringing in Bill Ellis, through the WV state EMS, as a consultant to look at and make suggestions for improvement in the ambulance authorities operations.
Joel Goughnour reported that the new youth summer crew is doing a very good job and have been working hard. All supervisors have nothing but good things to say about the students and the work they are providing.
Rosenau stated, with regard to the Courthouse Annex, “I can say that the Fire Marshall came this week, and I think the public is entitled to know this, too, and he had some concerns in our foyer with which way the doors swung. If it’s considered an exit or not an exit. So right now, Z&M our architects are working with Fire Marshall’s office to reach a conclusion on that. Frank Robert’s crew has done a great job on the woodwork, so far, in the courtrooms that I’ve seen. The elevator pieces were supposed to be here on Friday, but they didn’t show up, so that’s where we are on the annex.”
The commission approved requests from Mike Betler, Linda Bates, Patrick Darlington, and Mary Sagace for appointment to the Parks and Recreation board for a term expiring 12/31/2015.
Additionally, the commission voted to purchase a new complete budgetary system for the Tucker County Clerk; awarded $3,000 to the veterans for the renovation of the monument; and voted to hire Charles Baker, State Director of Flood Plain Management, as a contractual/temporary employee to handle our flood plain development permit request, help us get our ordinances up to date, help us get our process up to where it needs to be in Tucker County with effective hire date of July 1.
The Tucker County Commission will hold their next meeting on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 6 p.m. in the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom.