EMS Longevity Versus Funding
Steve Lightsey took the podium to address the County Commission on behalf of Green Pond Fire and Rescue EMS, asking why none of the monthly funds distributed to EMS services were being sent to them, and all going to AmServ.
Monday night, the Commission approved payment of $9,955.70 to emergency medical services that operated in Bibb County during the month of September. According to Mr. Lightsey, since the e911 Board made the decision some months ago to only dispatch to GPFR’s EMS if no AmServ unit was available in the area, they have received almost no dispatches, and thus almost no billable activity that could financially support their service. Yet, even on the calls they were dispatched to – a handful per month, even though some have been to the south end of the county, not just in the north area – they are not receiving any portion of the EMS funds the County regularly pays out.
“First, if you knew you were going to be dependent on county funds to sustain your service, it would have been good if you’d come here to ask about it before you started your service,” Commissioner Keefe Burt began, “but this is the first time you’ve come here … This is the first time you’ve asked officially or otherwise for payment from us. We’ve discussed it previously, and it’s something that may happen at some point. But, as far as I’m concerned you’re going to have to prove you can stay with it before I agree to it.” Commissioner Burt emphasized that this was his opinion and he couldn’t speak to the opinions of the other Commissioners, though none seemed to disagree with his assessment.
According to the discussion, at some point previously the Commission had agreed to pay a percentage to the previous iteration of GPFR EMS for services rendered in county territory. Shortly after beginning payments, however, that previous service folded under. According to Mr. Lightsey, the people that had “mishandled” funds previously are no longer associated with their service, and finances are being handled better. The problem, he said, is lack of revenue because of not being dispatched as often. He presented the argument that it would be difficult to maintain the service without funding, while Commissioner Burt insisted that if they could maintain service they might receive funding in the future.
“You haven’t even been at it a year yet,” Burt added.
No motion or other action beyond discussion was taken on this subject by the Commission.
Annex Bid Gets a Greenlight
Bond Construction has presented a bid of $2,051,991.00 “with alternates” for the construction of the new courthouse annex. The bid includes demolition of the old building as well as all other aspects of project completion except for the asbestos removal of the old building. According to County Administrator Derek Reeves, the quotes they have received thus far for the asbestos removal, combined with this quote from Bond Construction, would keep the total project cost under their budgeted amount of $2,400,000.
The Commission voted to accept the bid and “get it underway.”
The first bill for inspection of Coldwater Road after completing the resurfacing was approved to be paid, at just over $12,000. According to County Engineer Jeff McKinney, this is only part of the $50,000 estimated total cost of this service. Federal funds remaining in the county coffers will be used to reimburse the county for this expense, however.
McKinney asked the Commission to approve a $100 expense to send him to the annual herbicide conference in Tuscaloosa in February, which would complete requirements to maintain his herbicide license. The Commission approved.
The Bibbville road project will include turn lanes from Highway 11. This presents a problem with ALDOT, and according to the construction agreement the turn lanes should be included in the Bibbville construction project now, since the four-lane expansion of Hwy 11 will not complete for several years. Even though the turn lanes constructed now would be ripped up and replaced when the four lane project is completed, turn lanes must be added now, according to ALDOT. The project is paid for by Industrial Access funds instead of the county general fund. As it seemed a requirement, the Commission approved for the “temporary” turn lanes be constructed, under resolution 2020-3.
As the next Commission meeting would fall on Christmas week, being December 23, Commissioners voted to not hold a meeting that week.
At the end of Monday’s meeting, County Attorney Anthony Johnson requested a closed executive session to discuss security issues at the county jail. Upon returning to regular session, a unanimous vote passed to begin taking bids to replace or upgrade the security camera system in the county jail.