Commonwealth Journal

Local News

June 25, 2013

Disagreement between city, county over EMS funding is history

Somerset —

It’s official. County and city officials are moving forward from a messy few months of disagreements over Somerset-Pulaski County EMS funding with an updated interlocal agreement. 
“That’s what it’s all about, is taking care of all those people out there,” said Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock on Tuesday. “I’m confident they (the city) are going to do a superb job with EMS, and I know EMS always does a good job.”
Pulaski County Fiscal Court on Tuesday unanimously approved the second reading of an amendment to the county’s occupational tax structure that will funnel more money toward the EMS service. That vote comes around two weeks after Somerset City Council unanimously approved a new interlocal agreement, developed by Somerset City Attorney Carrie Wiese and Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield. 
“I want to commend both (Wiese) and (Hatfield) for working on this,” said Pulaski County Treasurer Joan Isaacs. “I know they worked endless, countless hours on this.”
County and city officials came together Tuesday to officially shake hands on and sign the new agreement, officially sealing the deal. 
Isaacs praised the city and county both “for coming up with an agreement that works for the betterment of everyone.
“I think it’s great for all involved,” Isaacs added.
The newest agreement occurred as a result of a back-and-forth between the city and county that began in January when city officials said EMS had finished fiscal year 2012 in the red. Citing guidelines as per a 1995 interlocal agreement, the city asked that the county cover $982,907 of the shortfall. 
Funding for EMS had been established through the 1995 agreement between the two entities. The county had been providing the $1.2 million yearly to EMS from occupational tax revenue. 
As “overseer” of EMS, the city provided additional funding and managed the operations of EMS. The agreement also stated that additional occupational tax funds would need to cover “unanticipated” shortfalls in the EMS budget. 

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