Emergency operations are fiscally sound

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By Calen McKinney

Taylor County's emergency services operations are financially sound, with some having spent less than they budgeted this fiscal year.

With six months of the 2012-2013 fiscal year having now passed, the committee charged to study the operation, revenue and expenses of Campbellsville/Taylor County's EMS, Fire & Rescue and E-911 operations met Tuesday, Jan. 15, to discuss the status of the budgets.

Members include Campbellsville City Councilmen Mike Hall Jr. and Greg Rice and Taylor County Magistrates Richard Phillips and Ed Gorin. Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young and Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers are nonvoting members.

All members attended Tuesday's meeting, except for Gorin, as did E-911 Supervisor Anne Sanders, EMS Director Gary Magers and two EMS employees.

Young presented a budget report for the three agencies, with revenue and expenses tabulated through the end of December, the halfway point for the fiscal year.

At that point, he said, the agencies are on target if they have spent about 50 percent of their budgets.

Young said the EMS operation has spent 46 percent of its budget, which includes the purchase of a new medic unit. The entire budget totals nearly $1.8 million. At the end of December, $819,299.38 had been spent.

"So, we're well within budget in the EMS department," he said.

Young said EMS has received about 45 percent of its budgeted income and he is pleased with that figure.

Looking at Fire & Rescue's budget, he said, 34.8 percent of the $86,054 amount has been spent.

And at E-911, exactly 50 percent of the $927,870 budget has been spent.

Young said several E-911 employees have recently been hired and are being trained, which has incurred some additional costs.

Sanders said the center has 12 employees, nine of which are certified. The other three employees are working on completing certification.

"It's going really well," Young said.

Campbellsville City Council members recently agreed to purchase another medic unit for EMS at a cost of about $120,000, Young said, to begin the process of buying one every two years.

He said the savings on maintenance costs alone will likely pay for medic units in the long run.

Magers said EMS spent nearly $60,000 on maintenance last year. This year, the figure is about $21,000.

"Our expenses have gone down a lot," he said.

If the second half of the fiscal year is as good as the first, Young said, there might be enough money in the budget to pay the $120,000 for the medic unit just purchased instead of borrowing the money.

"And some," Young said.

Hall asked if Young believes EMS expenses will really come in at about $130,000 under budget, to which he said yes.

"Barring anything happening," he said, because it isn't known what will happen with pension and insurance costs.

If enough money is saved to pay the $120,000 debt, Young said, he will ask the committee to decide if it wants to pay the amount or continue making payments.

Magers said EMS might need to purchase some equipment, however, which could cost more than $30,000 for each unit.

He said the defibrillator monitors his staff members use are about 10 years old. New machines costs about $33,000, and Magers said he would like to buy three.

EMS personnel have filed a grant application to help with the cost, he said, though they haven't heard if any money has been awarded.

Magers said the defibrillators EMS staff use now work fine, though he fears they are getting a bit old and could be nearing the end of their lifespan. He said the equipment is very important for EMS personnel to have.

"This is what we save them with," he said.

Phillips agreed.

"It's really the difference in whether they live or not," he said. "The medical industry is a lot like the computer industry. Ten years is ancient."

Hall asked if a discount could be offered if several defibrillators were purchased at the same time, as if EMS and Taylor Regional Hospital bought them together.

Magers said he doesn't know. Rice said he believes TRH might be considering purchasing some soon.

Magers and EMS staff members demonstrated new equipment EMS recently purchased, new intubation devices that help ensure the tube is placed into a patient correctly.

He said the devices cost $1,100 each and EMS bought three. Doctors have praised the devices, Magers said, and his staff members have used them recently on patients.

The committee will next meet in April. The meetings are open to the public.