In July 15 Issue
After a few housekeeping measures, the Russell County Ambulance Board began this Tuesday night's meeting with Chairman James Gray observing, "This is the hardest budget I've ever seen to figure out."
He said the federal budget he works with and the other board budgets he deals with are all far more illustrative of how things are going and where they should be going.
He and the other board members asked that more detailed monthly budgets be prepared.
The board accepted the resignation of their attorney, Athena Cooper, and announced that Assistant County Attorney Jeff Loy has said he will represent the board unless there is a conflict with another county agency.
It was reported that Kevin Shearer also said he would represent the board if elected. Since the two men are candidates for that office in November, it was noted that the board would be able to expect coverage from the county attorney.
The board hired the firm of Campbell, Meyers & Rutledge to conduct audits of the preceding two fiscal years, at a cost of $4,500 per year.
The board also approved a $1,530 for a stop-gap service contract for maintenance on the dispatch center's computer assisted dispatch system through the end of September. The only other option being a per-hour rate of $120 on equipment which has gone down as often as twice a week and for as long as 6 hours at a time.
Acting Director Terry Hancock asked the board about establishing a pay scale for employees, which Gray said he agreed with "200 percent."
Board Member Mike Popplewell suggested that he also intended to, "take a look at the employee handbook."
Gray addressed the three fiscal court members present saying that the LINK NCIC board, which oversees the dispatch personnel, needs to be made up of local police, ambulance and fire personnel.
"The LINK board needs people on it who care most about what goes on down there," Gray said, indicating the dispatch center downstairs.
He added that the ambulance board needed to move forward with hiring a new director.
Magistrate Ron Johnston addressed the board, asking if they would be willing to return to the previous system of funding the dispatch center.
In that old system the cities, county and ambulance service split the cost four-ways.
Gray said he was willing to look at the option, but added that he was more interested in looking at splitting the cost on a percentage tied to the volume of calls for service received by each agency.
He added that at the agency will have already spent a great deal by the end of the 120 day notice period required before the ambulance service can leave the present system that has them paying all of the bill.
As the discussion became more brisk the issue of how much of the service's present debt could be attributed to the dispatch and how much was spending in the ambulance service.
Gray stressed that everyone understands that a dispatch service is necessary in the county, just as the ambulance service is, and he expressed his desire that the dispatch service remain in the county, not as some have suggested in the state police post in Columbia.