In July 1 Issue
Over the course of the past several weeks there have been many reports concerning the ambulance service and the dispatch service. Just recently the decision was made to separate the dispatch operations from the ambulance service and turn this operation over to the fiscal court, which seems ready to pass it on to the state police.
This decision apparently was due to the fact the ambulance service had been experiencing leadership problems and financial woes. The revamped board, at a meeting last week made the decision to split the two services. The two services had operated independently prior to being combined.
It appears to us this decision was made rather hastily, as apparently no one at this time can say for certain if the financial woes came from a lack of leadership, poor leadership, financial strains, or other reasons.
We cannot understand why audits were not performed and reports given to the appropriate boards, fiscal court, and taxpayers prior to decisions being made.
The two services appear to complement each other and we feel adequate study and discussion have not been exercised in this situation.
Whatever route is taken, complete audits must be performed and reports made public.
Questions certainly remain concerning both services. What created the financial problems? Were the problems inevitable? What are the answers?
If we separate the two, we must then determine which direction to take the dispatch?
Some have suggested we contract with the Kentucky State Police Dispatch Center in Adair County. Do we operate independently or do we contract with the Kentucky State Police.
While respect is certainly given to a dispatch service operated by the KSP, some fear the local contact and that little extra local concern would be lost.
A letter to this newspaper last week suggested a telephone tax be initiated to support the dispatch service. At this time of economical problems, we just do not feel increasing taxes would be the route to take especially without knowing what budget we will need to operate.
We certainly would urge both boards and our fiscal court to conduct detailed audits, total reviews and prepare budgets, before making such permanent decision.
It is just like the situation faced when it was realized the county would lose its jail. We opted, for better or worse to avoid being at the whims of others. We built a jail expecting we would always control what it cost to house our prisoners only if we did it ourselves.
Now the question is do we give up that control with the entire emergency 911 dispatch service, or do we take a hard look at what the situation is, fix it ourselves, and provide the services our county's people have a right to expect.
Leadership is an easy word to banter about, but not such an easy thing to live up to. Do we have leaders? Is there anyone in a position of authority who will collect the actual facts, lay them out, and say, "this is the best way for us to go."
Or will leadership do a little side step and blame the problems on others while laying the solution off on someone else?