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EMS pay, rate hikes approved

WINTON – Hertford County’s Director of Emergency Services (EMS) told the Board of Commissioners recently that salary adjustments must be made for EMS personnel or the emergency responder program will die out in the county.

Charles B. Jones made his remarks during the Dec. 5, meeting of the Board of Commissioners as he presented information on responder services to enhance those already in place. He also advised the Board he was requesting approval of Revised Emergency Services Fee Schedule that would help offset the cost of salary increases for EMS personnel.

The presentation to the board followed a Nov. 14, memo advising County Manager Loria D. Williams that beginning Jan. 1, 2006, Hertford County EMS will provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) services to the citizens of the county.

The EMS Director also advised that after carefully looking at the salaries of emergency service personnel in surrounding counties, he determined the cost of providing ALS services should require a base service fee of $330 per call.

Jones said the fee would offset the cost of providing ALS, however Basic Life Support services will be continued for a base rate of $220 per trip.

He added that all except three emergency service responders successfully completed their EMT-1 certifications and therefore deserved the salary hike.

Jones said that increase would mean a jump from $281,364 to $324,134 in overall salaries an adjustment of $42,770. The emergency responders will also receive benefits.

&uot;This places additional cost on our budget, but with the increase of $330 per trip for services, we believe it will cover that cost,&uot; Jones told the commissioners. &uot;We looked at surrounding counties’ salaries and if we don’t bring Hertford County EMS-1 salaries in line with them, we will just become a training program for personnel who will leave for higher paying counties and our program will die.&uot;

Commissioner Johnnie R. Farmer commented that this issue had come before the board several years ago.

&uot;I am proud of the job you do for Hertford County,&uot; Farmer told Jones.

John E. Pierce, also a Commissioner, also voiced support for the EMS responders.

&uot;These people are all professionals and they deserve it,&uot; he said.

On a motion by Commissioner DuPont Davis and seconded by Pierce, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Revised Emergency Services Fee Schedule and the salary increases for EMT-1 certified personnel, all to take effect Jan. 1, 2006.

Responders who are now certified EMT-1 include Frank D. Avant,

Alan D. Bain, James R. Broglin, Penny D. Deanes, Joseph B. Parker, Keri A. Taylor and Jeffery C. Woodard.