City officials assure EMS services for non-payers for 6-12 months
In my last update I expressed my concern on losing ambulance services beyond the Guthrie school district boundaries. That we, in our area of the Coyle school district boundary lines and the non-paying citizens in the rest of our county, must address the issue of funding for ambulance services in the future. At our last BoCC meeting, Monday, March 2nd, this issue was discussed with the City of Guthrie (City Manager Serenah Breland and Fire Chief Eric Harlow), Dale Adkinson (state Director of EMS) and Shawn Rogers (EMS consultant).
The City of Guthrie simply cannot continue to function in a responsible and accountable manner within their boundaries while providing unfunded services outside their boundaries. With the passage of HB 1888 in 2010, ambulances are not required to respond outside of their paying districts.
At this meeting the City officials assured us that they would continue service to these non-paying areas for 6-12 months.
We are in the beginning stages of forming an advisory committee to primarily representate the 5 towns that will be affected. I believe the committee should also have at least a few citizens included representing the north and south unincorporated areas that will be affected.
Senator Jason Smalley has introduced SB 121 that should be heard soon by the full senate that will allow a county wide surcharge of electric utilities for a county EMS. Other funding options as well as the fallback 3 mills property tax shall be considered by the committee.
Regardless of the different mechanisms for funding ambulance services, the issue needs to be addressed soon.
Our snows for this winter appear to be over. But knowing Oklahoma and its weather, don’t bet on it. On the last two snows, we were able to add salt finally to our sand which made a significant impact to traffic flow. With all the roads we have paved, repaved and will be paving, snow and ice removal ability needs upgraded in our district.
We have been assured that Midwest from Cooksey south will be paved by the end of next week.
All of our project timelines, of course, whether prepping for asphalt, graveling, grading etc, have been delayed because of weather. Though I know everyone would like to see their road project listed in the updates, it is just not feasible to do so in this short space. But, please do not hesitate to contact me or my office with any questions. My personal cell phone is 405-650-0384 which I try to answer or return calls at any time of the day or night 7 days a week. I also text.
On my next update, I will address more on our road building efforts and any new news concerning our committee on ambulance services.