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Safety Committee OKs EMS budget
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Warren County EMS had a quick response time for its proposed budget for upcoming fiscal year 2018-19.

Presented to the county Safety Committee were both the Ambulance Service budget and Temporary Morgue budget. Preston Denney is the first department director to submit a proposed budget in committee.

Approved for EMS in 2017-18 was $3.48 million. Requested for 2018-19 is $3.6 million.

Making the bulk of the $125,500 difference is an increase to Ambulance Medical Billing, the department’s billing service, from $42,000 last year to $120,000 this year.

Commission Ron Lee expressed concern for a $78,000 increase.

“Goodness gracious,” said Lee.

Per its contract with the county, AMB receives 5.75 percent per month of its net collections. However, the company guaranteed it would collect enough additional revenue to pay for its services. If the company generates more than 5.75 percent in revenue, anything above that belongs to the county. If it generates less than 5.75 percent, its rate will lower to that amount.

Denney says the fee went up because AMB collected more.

“Our collections have gone up some so the fee has gone up,” said Denney, who was asked about the revenue benefit to the county. “I wouldn’t say we’re making a fortune on it, but I don’t think we’re losing money. It is saving the county money on computers and software we don’t have to purchase anymore.”

Approved for the morgue in 2017-18 was $26,000. Requested for 2018-19 was $23,700. Denney said the bulk of those funds, $17,500, is to be used for the medical examiner and autopsies.

“We haven’t had to do many autopsies because most of those fall back on the District Attorney’s Office,” Denney said. “If the DA’s office requests an autopsy, they pay for it. If the DA’s office doesn’t request one and our medical examiner says ‘something just isn’t right here’ then he can request an autopsy. We have to pay for that.”

Safety Committee members approved the budgets.

Both will be sent to the next stage, the county Budget and Finance Committee.