A plan that could save Warren County taxpayers $69,000 is being floated by the Safety Committee, provided the County Commission is willing to take money the county already has to pay off a debt.
The potential savings comes in the area of two ambulances bought on a 15-year loan, both vehicles costing $130,000 apiece.
“We went through it this way to qualify for the $35,000 grant through USDA,” County Executive John Pelham told a combined meeting of the county’s Safety Committee and Budge and Finance Committee on Monday. “We have now gotten those funds and we are free to pay off the loan without penalty.”
By paying off the ambulances, both of which would long be in the scrap yard following the 15-year life cycle of the loan, Pelham said the county would save around $69,000. Best of all, Pelham said, due to good use of county dollars earmarked for the ambulance service, there is money in its fund balance to both pay off the ambulances and finish funding the ambulance service in its day-to-day operations.
“We changed the way we do business,” said Commissioner Les Trotman, referring to the increased efficiency of the ambulance service. “We are trying to get the ambulance service to be self-sufficient.”
Trotman said just a few years ago the ambulance service was barely getting by, but most recently the local department has been able to bring in more revenue while using less resources.
“Several years ago they were robbed and put almost to zero,” Trotman said, noting it is important the County Commission continue funding the ambulance service in the upcoming budget year so it can continue to better serve the county.
Members of Budge and Finance Committee like the idea but cautioned there could be no pay-off of the debt until the numbers are crunched next month in preparation for next year’s county budget. The idea would have to be approved by the entire County Commission before the early pay-off would be allowed.