Ordinance passes first reading

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2005

WINDSOR – It’s a deal everyone can live with.

A revised version of Bertie County’s much scrutinized Emergency Service Franchise Ordinance was well-received here Monday morning during a meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

In a 4-0 vote (Board Chairman Rick Harrell was out-of-town on business), that governing body gave a thumbs-up to the ordinance in its first reading. A second reading will be conducted at the next Commissioners meeting (7 p.m. on May 16). There, another favorable vote will approve the ordinance, one scheduled to take affect on Sept. 1.

One of the major overhauls to the ordinance deals with the person behind the wheel of these emergency/non-emergency transport vehicles. The ordinance’s original draft required all drivers to be EMT certified. That was met with opposition from non-emergency transport owners at earlier meetings.

Through the work of Bertie EMS Coordinator Rickey Freeman and Board attorney Lloyd Smith, the revised draft does not require drivers to be EMT’s as long as there are two certified emergency technicians onboard. That provision is satisfactory with State Statutes dealing with medical transport businesses.

There were a few other minor changes from the original draft, those dealing with required paperwork and an updated version of insurance requirements.

Existing medical transport services within the county were reminded that none will be allowed to be &uot;grand fathered in.&uot; All must apply for a franchise license to legally operate in Bertie County.

At an April meeting, Bertie County Zee Lamb, in an effort to alleviate fears among those already operating a medical transport business in the county, said the existing (transport) businesses will receive favorable consideration for an approved franchise, providing all of their paperwork is submitted and that it meets the requirements of the ordinance.

At Monday’s meeting, Lamb suggested a $200 fee for those wishing to apply for a franchise. The Commissioners approved his suggestion.