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County begins budget talks
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Budget discussions have kicked off in Warren County for fiscal year 2017-18.
The proposed budgets of Warren County’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Rescue Squad, Sheriff’s Department, and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) have received preliminary discussion.
EMS is requesting $3.32 million, which is unchanged from last year.
Commissioner Carl D. Bouldin asked why EMS still has two full-time employees and one part-time employee in its billing department. Commissioners were told outsourcing the department’s billing to AMB, a national ambulance billing firm, would reduce the number of employees.
“When we went to the new billing system, one of the positive inputs was that we had one lady and all she did was coding all day long,” said Bouldin. “When we went to the new billing system, they are doing all the coding. That’s going to free up a person we probably aren’t going to need. Yet, here we are today and we still have all three people.”
The county signed with AMB in May 2016.
The Rescue Squad is requesting $29,212 for the upcoming fiscal year, an increase of $3,302 from last year.
According to Rescue Squad director Chad Hillis, the extra money is needed to replace a vehicle.
“We are looking at replacing an older vehicle that’s dollaring us to death,” said Hillis. “We paid off one of our side-by-sides this past year. In the capital purchases, we have included about $400 extra a month for payment to buy something used.”
Bouldin asked how many runs the Rescue Squad made in 2016.
“All together, counting the calls to us and mutual aid across the state, law enforcement and county fire departments, we had about 27 calls,” said Hillis.
Warren County Sheriff Department is requesting $3.36 million and EMA is requesting $64,852. Both requests for the upcoming fiscal year are relatively unchanged from what was given last year.
All the budgets were unanimously approved by the Safety Committee and sent to county Budget and Finance Committee for its consideration. Financial Management Committee and the full Warren County Commission approval is also required.