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Stockdale-area ESD faces capital expense woes
STOCKDALE -- Capital expenditures -- including the purchase of an ambulance -- are creating havoc for the Wilson County Emergency Services District (ESD) No. 3.
The newest of the county’s ESDs just paid off $10,000 in “seed money” -- a loan from the city of Stockdale to get started. During the district’s Feb. 12 meeting, the board grappled with $228,000 in proposed capital expenses -- including a new (modular) ambulance and two heart monitors.
Stockdale Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director David Rice asked the commissioners to seriously consider the replacement of an ambulance. The 2008 ambulance -- currently in service -- cost the EMS $110,000. A 2015 model with the same features would cost $144,000. The current ambulance racked up $13,000 in maintenance last year, and the backup vehicle is in the shop at present, Rice said.
He added that the purchase of cardiac monitors also should be considered. One monitor would cost $29,965, but would not meet state requirements. Two monitors that would meet state requirements would amount to $83,422.
Rice said financing is available, with no service charge or interest rate. If financed for five years, payments would amount to $1,300 per month for the monitors.
“If we max at 10 cents [per $100 of assessed property value], we cannot make it to purchase,” said ESD President Lynn Ray West after Rice outlined the capital expenditures.
West said the money for $200,000 in capital expenses simply isn’t there.
ESD Secretary Teri Wolff suggested pursuing grants as an alternative to financing these items.
Another expense raised was a stretcher -- already purchased at a cost of $19,700. Some confusion exists as to which budget -- the ESD’s or the EMS’s -- the expense should be allocated to.
Rice said that $19,000 was included in the ESD budget for the stretcher, under capital expenditures.
West and Commissioner Todd Lawson disagreed, saying it was part of the EMS budget. If found to be in the ESD budget, both commissioners wanted to delete the amount from the ESD’s quarterly payment to the Stockdale EMS, the ESD’s service provider.
The district “can’t give an extra $19,000” to the EMS from the ESD budget, Lawson said.
Rice suggested dividing the stretcher expenditure. West requested verifying the budget to which the stretcher was allocated.
A contract between Wilson County and the Stockdale EMS is at a standstill, causing further budget issues, Rice said.
The county will not dispense a $25,000 disbursement until the ESD board provides an audit of its account. This review --requested by the county auditor and county attorney -- will cost approximately $3,000.
While some expenses came in under budget, workman’s compensation did not. Budgeted at $6,000, the bill totaled $6,398.
A primary strain on the budget is failure to collect outstanding payments for services rendered of $345,000 for a 13-month period.
The next meeting is set for Thursday, March 6, at which time Carlos Salazar may join the group -- if the Wilson County commissioners approve his appointment.
Salazar will replace August Moczygemba, who resigned during the Jan. 9 meeting, pending a replacement.
In attendance: board members Lynn Ray West, August Moczygemba, Todd Lawson, and Teri Wolff; and Stockdale Emergency Medical Services Director David Rice.
Stockdale EMS calls for January
Stockdale EMS Director David Rice gave a breakdown of the 45 EMS calls made during the month of January:
•21 calls within the city of Stockdale
•18 calls outside of the city limits, but within the ESD
•three calls in Pandora
•one call in Nixon
•two calls in La Vernia, due to being the backup responder.
For the first 12 days in February, 25 to 30 calls have been made.
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