Commonwealth Journal

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June 11, 2013

City, county come to terms on EMS pact

Somerset —

County and city officials appear to have come to terms on a new Somerset-Pulaski County EMS agreement. 
Somerset City Council on Monday voted unanimously to approve a new contract between the City of Somerset and Pulaski County government, bringing to an end a back-and-forth between the two entities that began in January. 
City officials stated in January that 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. 
After some disagreements between the two entities that included the city’s move to drop the inter-local agreement completely, the city and county are operating again under the 1995 guidelines while they move toward an updated agreement. Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield and Somerset City Attorney Carrie Wiese have both been heavily involved in the process.
Both city and county officials confirmed in mid-May that Hatfield and Wiese had been working on a new agreement.
Wiese and Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler on Monday thanked Hatfield for his help.
“He worked on numerous drafts,” said Wiese. “He’s been a big, big help.” 
Wiese also thanked those at EMS “ ... who put their two cents in and helped us try to figure this out.”
 Details of the new agreement began to come to light last week, when Pulaski County Fiscal Court held a first reading of an ordinance to adjust the county’s occupational tax structure to make more room for additional EMS funding. The numbers involved are still tentative and are subject to change during a second reading, which will be held at the next fiscal court meeting. 

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