By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
Recently, the Tucker County Ambulance Authority met to address issues concerning the end of their fiscal year and heading into the coming 2023-2024 fiscal year in July. The Tucker County Ambulance Authority submitted an operating budget increase to the Tucker County Commission for fiscal year 2023-2024. The Ambulance Authority’s budget increased from the 2022-2023 budget of $1,040,050 to a proposed budget of $1.4 million for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. “We had a meeting with the county commissioners last week,” Dennis Filler said. “It was a fruitful meeting. The County Commission has offered us this year’s additional money of $72,000.”
Long term goals for the Ambulance Authority focused on the need for a second crew. Plans for one station fully manned 24-7 with a second station manned from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. were discussed. “We know that from all our data that most of our calls, three-quarters of them, are happening from about 8 a.m. to about 8 p.m.,” Filler said. “So, by staffing that, we get the biggest bang for our investment.”
The County Commission has not yet approved the amount to be allocated. Amanda Simmons, Interim Director, said at the meeting that she would follow up with the County and make sure that the measure was on the next County Commission meeting agenda.
“So, they’ve offered $72,000 at that meeting,” Chris Davis, Tucker County Ambulance Authority Treasurer said, “which would put us with the Commission total of what they normally give us $182,000 because they normally give us $110.”
Davis also discussed the additional money the Ambulance Authority anticipates receiving from hotel/motel tax. “With hotel/motel, it looks like they’ve raised that to 160 from what I gather,” Davis said. “That’s really a great bump. It’s a huge bump. Plus, they gave money for the cot.” The County Commission had previously given the Ambulance Authority funds to purchase a Stryker Cot Unit at a cost of $67,000. The cot has an anticipated installation of June.
EMS Director Amanda Simmons updated the Ambulance Authority on a variety of recent developments. Included in her report were the Stryker Cot, maintenance and updates to the radio system, two upcoming multi-departmental training, a community CPR class that the EMS conducted that was attended by 13 individuals and a Pediatric EMS class that was attended by 14 EMS personnel.
“Community CPR class was conducted here recently,” Simmons said. “We had 13 individuals come out. One attendee was 13 years of age and the oldest was in their 90s. Actually, we had one couple that
stated that if they hadn’t had the class, they would not have been able to receive their granddaughters over the weekend because they had been informed that they only had so many hours to complete the class or they would be placed in foster care. It was amazing. They had been placed in emergency foster care and they got the call. They had to have the class and there was a community class right there. It was wonderful.”
Simmons also told the Ambulance Authority that while cleaning and organizing, two AEDs were discovered. While these units were outdated and not able to be used by EMS, they were functional and could be refurbished and were donated to the Parsons PD. “The AED were out of date. They weren’t something we are allowed to have on the trucks anymore, however they can be refurbished and recertified,” Simmons said. “So, we knew that Keplinger, down here at the local PD needed AEDs.”
Simmons also informed the Ambulance Authority that one of the units was involved in an accident on the road. “March 27 Unit 5-4 was involved in an accident,” Simmons said. “They were on their way back from a call. We were right on the Barbour County line… A rock truck came right into their lane, they swerved. It was either the mountain or the rock truck. They chose the mountain.” Simmons said insurance is covering the damage and most of the repair work has been completed, but the truck is waiting on a set of steps that will arrive in a month. Simmons said a tie rod, tires, a siren, and other parts have been replaced on the damaged truck.
The Authority reviewed the findings of an audit conducted by Ferrari & Associates, PLLC, a firm located in Morgantown. “It talks about deficiency and it has the obligatory, as I call it, Segregation of Duties clause,” Tucker County Ambulance Authority President Dennis Filler said. “It says normal things would require us to have more separation of duties, but because we have limited staffing, we do what we do with what we have. It is a finding I see on almost every board in the county. So, it’s not a finding we can do really anything about.” The Authority did take action on the report. An invoice in the amount of $3,900 was approved for payment to Ferrari & Associates for the completion of the audit.
The Tucker County Ambulance Authority will have a total of three vacancies on the board for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. Three members of the board have expiring terms and have elected to not renew, according to Filler. “I have been informed that we will have a total of three vacancies,” Filler said. “I have asked Dr. Elaine Moore to consider coming on board as a board member…In my personal opinion, she would be a wonderful addition to the job we’re doing.”
The Tucker County Ambulance Authority will next meet on Wednesday, May 24 at 5:30pm at the Five Rivers Public Library in Parsons.