Added EMS calls strain budget

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, January 24, 2012

JACKSON — The lack of EMS presence in the southeastern part of Northampton County is straining county resources.

Last week, Northampton County officials discussed the financial strain the county has been experiencing since the disbandment of Woodland EMS in September.

County ambulances based in Jackson have had to respond to calls that were typically covered by Woodland EMS, equating to a more than 30 percent increase to the county’s call volume. The county’s response to that area has taken a toll on manpower and finances.

Last Monday, County Finance Officer Dot Vick reported she had transferred $16,000 from contingency in order to pay part time ambulance employees.

“If they keep operating the way they’re operating now to get through June 30th they are going to need an additional of about $16,000 in part time salaries, they’re going to need $10,000 in repairs and fuel, we’ve got about $6,000 in fuel to run those ambulances in the next six months,” she said.

Commissioner Fannie Greene questioned how much additional fuel would be needed.

Vick responded approximately $12,000.

County Manager Wayne Jenkins said the ambulance issue began back in May or June with Woodland EMS.

“A lot of effort was expended there to negotiate a reasonable solution whereby Woodland Volunteer Rescue Squad could continue delivering services to that end of the county,” he said. “That has not been resolved.”

Due to the lack of an EMS organization in that area the county has been the primary agency to respond, thus increasing the use of their part time staff.

“Until that situation is rectified, we’re going to have to continue to rob Peter to pay Paul to keep those services running to that end of the county,” Jenkins said.