EMS merger appears to be a sucess

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First fiscal year shows savings

By Calen McKinney

With the first fiscal year since local EMS services were merged just completed, city and county officials say they have spent less to operate emergency services operations than they anticipated.

And they say the merger of Campbellsville/Taylor County Rescue and Campbellsville Fire Department was what made that happen.

The committee charged to study the operation, revenue and expenses of both the Campbellsville/Taylor County Rescue and E-911 operations met Tuesday night to discuss the financial aspects of the operations through the end of the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

Members include city councilmen Mike Hall Jr. and Greg Rice and 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, as did County Treasurer Melissa Williams and EMS Director Gary Magers.

Young began the meeting by saying that Magers brought the new medic unit the committee agreed to buy, if members want to see it. He said the unit has a sign on it that states that the vehicle was paid for entirely with funds saved by merging rescue and fire and with the help of all EMS employees.

When expenses and income were tallied for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Young said, the deficit for EMS, E-911 and Rescue totaled $1,242,358.70. When divided, he said, that means the city and county were each responsible for $621,179.35.

The city and county will split that deficit equally, according to the agreement the entities entered into last year when Campbellsville/Taylor County Rescue and Campbellsville Fire Department were merged.

The county paid the city $650,000 last fiscal year for operating EMS, E-911 and Rescue, Young said, as it has for the past several years.

When paying that, he said, the county overpaid $28,820.65. As such, Young gave Rogers and the magistrates a check for that amount.

According to Young’s end of the fiscal year figures, the cost to operate the EMS operation was reduced from the 2010-2011 fiscal year to the 2011-2012 fiscal year by $355,751.19.

In all, expenses for EMS, E-911 and Rescue for the 2010-2011 year were $2.8 million. For the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the cost was also $2.8 million, though the total includes buying a $132,000 medic unit.

Income generated by E-911, Rescue and EMS in the 2010-2011 year increased by nearly $198,000 in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Young said that when he first proposed merging Rescue and Fire, he projected the savings would be $365,000.

He said the $355,000 figure is pretty close.

“So, we had a good year,” he said.

Young said the credit for having that good year goes to all EMS, Fire & Rescue and E-911 paid personnel and volunteers.

“And it was a success,” he said.

Young said EMS runs are increasing, which means more revenue is being collected. Hall said that while income might be increasing, he also sees that expenses are being cut.

While that is true, Young said, last fiscal year, employees received raises and insurance premiums, pension and fuel costs all increased. Nevertheless, he said, the expenses held steady and were kept in line.

“Through all of that, we still came out with this,” he said.

Young said the merger has been more successful than he imagined, with the city having money in the bank to pay cash for a new medic unit.

If that purchase hadn’t been made, he said, he would have given the county another $66,000 in overpayment.

Young said another new medic unit should arrive in December, which is a part of the city’s two-year rotation to purchase new units as current EMS vehicles get outdated and have increased mileage. That medic unit will be paid for in monthly payments, Young said.

Hall said purchasing new vehicles every two years is sure to save on maintenance costs. Magers said his figures say EMS spent about $12,000 last fiscal year on its three first-out units in maintenance costs. With new units, he said, the expenses would not have totaled that much.

As EMS runs have increased, Young said, there are days when there are four medic units on the road instead of three.

“We are stretched at times,” he said.

Magers said EMS went on about 5,000 runs last fiscal year. When he began working for Rescue in 1998, he said, employees went on fewer than 2,000 runs a year.

“And we still have about the same number of employees today,” Magers said.

Young said Fire & Rescue staff provide back up in case EMS employees can’t handle the runs on their own.

Young said he appreciates the committee working together to make the merger a success. Phillips echoed Young’s thoughts.

“This community’s strong when we’re together,” Young said.

In other business, Hall was named chair of the committee. He replaces Phillips in the capacity, who had served in the position since the committee was created last year. The committee will next meet in October. That meeting will be open the public.