Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 12, 2013

City to kill EMS agreement

Somerset —  

Somerset officials on Monday gave notice of their intent to terminate a decade-old agreement with the county that had established the funding and management structure for Somerset-Pulaski County EMS. 
The move, announced through a reading of a resolution during Monday’s Somerset City Council meeting, comes after a Friday special-called Pulaski County Fiscal Court meeting during which magistrates expressed a reluctance to cover a nearly $1 million shortfall in the EMS budget. 
“I just hope this is a mechanism ... we can use to bring both governments together and clarify the issues of the contract and the agreement,” said Ward 12 Councilor Tom Eastham. “By doing this ... they’ll sit down, we’ll have a new agreement, outline stuff, or maybe they (the county) want EMS. “Either way, we cannot put the burden of 56,000 Pulaski Countians on the city taxpayers without the county’s help,” Eastham added. “We can’t do that.” 
The issue began to take shape in January after city officials announced that EMS ended fiscal year 2012 (which ended June 2012) in the red. The shortfall was said to be $982,000. 
A 1995 interlocal agreement had established the city as “overseer” of EMS operations. Part of the EMS budget is funded through the county’s occupational tax fund, with the city providing additional funding. But the agreement states that in the event of a shortfall, it is the county’s responsibility to make that up in additional occupational tax revenue. 
Now, the agreement seems to be a matter of dispute because fiscal court on Friday suggested that the contract may be void due to other parts of the agreement they said had not been fulfilled by the city. 
Somerset City Clerk David Godsey read the resolution aloud in Monday’s meeting.
The resolution reads as follows:
“Whereas, the 1995 agreement between the City of Somerset and Pulaski County concerning the

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