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Ambulance Committee Minutes – June 16, 2021

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16 JUNE 2021


Committee Members in attendance:  David Wamble, Chairperson, Joyce Woodard, David Adams, Roger Reedy, Joseph Sutton, Brad Butler, Terry Harwell; Other Commissioners:  Tim Risner, Rodney Journey, Stoney Jackson, Gayle Jones, Judy Pruett, Harold Brooks, Duane Jones, Mike Cesarini, Larry Worsham, Erin Curry; Tracy Wilburn, Bill Cary;  Other County Officials:  Melissa Greene – County Executive; Roy Griggs, Director, Chastity Hobbs, and Tommy Gatlin -Ambulance;  Beth Moore-Sumners and Nancy Griffin – Financial Management: and  Barry Hyatt, Superintendent of Roads and Steve Kelley  Assistant Superintendent


Chairperson David Wamble opened the meeting.  Tommy Pollard offered the prayer and led the pledge.  Motion to approve minutes of previous meeting made by Roger Reedy and seconded by Joyce Woodard.  Motion approved.


David then asked Director Roy Griggs to discuss the Digitech EMS billing contract.  Roy asked Chastity to give the details.  Per Chastity, the contract is moving smoothly, providing them with new items that could be billed and answering questions left unanswered by previous contractual entity.  Chastity mentioned a new portal whereby the county can make use of customers using credit cards.  David Adams asked about the $20 per month that Digitech will charge for this service.  The cost will be passed on to the customer in a transaction fee, much like other companies do.  The additional cost to the customer is for the convenience of using their credit card; an option to pay by cash or check is still available.  This service is anticipated to provide more revenue coverage of billings.  Terry Harwell moved, and Joyce Woodard seconded, that the use of credit card payments be approved, including the cost of $20 per month to Digitech which would then be recovered with a transaction fee.   Motion approved.


David then asked County Executive Melissa Greene to give an update on potential property for any future Ambulance location.  Melissa mentioned that due to significant construction cost increases, that discussions had been on hold and that one property previously considered was no longer an option.  Another, which has a house on the property,  was not willing to give an opening price.  Again another property owner not willing to price.  Another owned by city and county and located near the airport has the problem of height (one story only) and concerns about takeoff and landing of the planes.  A previous discussion about land near Valley Packaging has not been revisited.  And the last property consisting of two parcels has one parcel being listed for sale and the other has not been fully researched.  This property has a challenge of road entry.  Tommy Pollard noted that the ambulance service needs at least three acres for a new location.  Current location has approximately one acre.  A motion by Roger Reedy and seconded by David Womble was made to pursue  additional information on the second parcel located next to the one for sale.  Motion approved.  Two other suggestions were made to further discussions with Valley Packaging and to investigate a possible location on Elkton Pike.


Chairperson David Wamble then asked for discussion on next agenda item – paving of existing ambulance location.  Barry Hyatt said they had looked several times.  The paving would consist of enlarging the parking area and making the paving wider.  Currently if the decision was to enlarge by the easterly entrance there would be considerable material and time required.  The problem now is that it is difficult to get the ambulances out without having to do some backups to make the turn, taking time and potential loss of life.  Barry recommended that the county would be better served to find a new location for the ambulance department.  David Wamble mentioned that the value of the property would be improved, and with the building being owned by the county, such an improvement would potentially provide a new use for the location.  Joyce Woodard moved and Joseph Sutton seconded that this be provided to the Property Committee.  Motion approved.  Mike Cesarini questioned the potential drainage problem with new paving; however Barry thought the new paving would not cause further problems.


Next agenda item was the additional $30K provided during budget discussions.  David Wamble and Roy Griggs had discussed dividing equally over the 34 positions (does not include Roy) and only for existing personnel, not new hires.  Roger Reedy asked if this is a recurring cost afterwards and answer yes.  Gayle Jones asked if in addition to “first raise” provided during budget discussion, answer yes.   Beth who  was asked what is the increase overall, stated could not answer at this time due to the very recent restructuring but would supply that answer.  Roger mentioned the competition for staff from other counties and is not sure how if ever we would be able to keep up in terms of salaries and benefits.  Bill Cary mentioned the considerable overtime being worked with some making between $50K – $60K.  If could maintain a fulltime staff, reduce overtime, and overall cost would be cheaper.  David Wamble mentioned the $30K would only be a 2% increase which is similar to a cost of living raise.  David Adams made a motion and Terry Harwell seconded to let Roy handle how he spends the $30K. Mike Cesarini mentioned that using salary alone for the $30K would not cover the additional costs, such as overtime based on salary costs, as well as the additional taxes required.   Discussion ensued on the various problems such as who works overtime (they have a cap on individual overtime but some situations cause them to exceed that cap).  Roger asked how much is the ambulance costing the county.  Beth said the cost is $3.3M and the revenue to partially offset that cost is approximately $2M.  Melissa asked if the $30K is in that budget and Beth said it was currently in salaries.  David Adams then recalled his motion.  David Wamble mentioned a good split might be 85% to pay salary with the balance of 15% for other including overtime and amending the budget later.  A motion by Roger and seconded by Terry to leave in payroll for the time being.  Motion approved 6 -1 with David Adams voting no.


Next agenda item – No treatment, no transport has a $50 fee.  Much discussion about the problems such as one person calling for someone else and that second person saying I don’t want an ambulance; or someone on highway calling about a need for an ambulance but on arriving person(s) don’t want to use ambulance.  If they do provide medicine that is billed.  And if transported patient does get a bill.  David Wamble keep in place, without motion required.


Old business – NO


New business – Roger lots of quesitons about ambulance services and process but always do a good job.


Motion to adjourn by Terry Harwell, seconded by David Adams.  Motion approved.