Commonwealth Journal

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May 4, 2013

City, county come to terms on EMS dilemma


Somerset —

Funding for EMS had been established through the 1995 agreement between the two entities. The county had provided around $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. 
Girdler, in his most recent announcement, said the two entities will now stick to those guidelines. 
Girdler thanked Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield and Somerset City Attorney Carrie Wiese “for spending many hours looking at the issues.
“They provided advice on how to continue EMS and make certain all citizens of Somerset and Pulaski County had confidence that the service is available when needed,” Girdler stated in the press release. 
Now, as the city and county work toward establishing another agreement — Girdler had proposed a contract situation in which the county would pay the city $1.6 million yearly to provide EMS service, among other options — plans appear to be in motion to establish some oversight for EMS operations.
Girdler stated in the press release the city’s Public Safety Committee will meet “periodically” with county officials and others “ ... to review and offer advice on how to meet changing economic and healthcare needs relating to EMS.
“In addition, staff of the city will update the city council and fiscal court on at least a quarterly basis on the overall financial condition (of EMS) or proposed changes in healthcare that would impact the reimbursement of revenue for the EMS system.”
That suggestion echoes some of Bullock’s own ideas on the issue, who asked in his communications with Girdler that the city and county form an EMS board in an effort to oversee EMS operations and avoid any disagreements in the future. The 1995 agreement had contained guidelines for an EMS board. 

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