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Safety Committee holds out hope for new ambulance
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The county’s Safety Committee is still hoping to purchase an ambulance this year even though the item was removed from consideration during budget discussions and the department’s budget passed without funding designated for one.
“What we have to do is draft a resolution to transfer the money from the department’s fund balance into a vehicle purchase. Then, it has to be voted on by the full court,” said Commissio-ner Ron Lee.
Back in February, Lee and fellow committee members Teddy Boyd, Carl D. Bouldin, Randy England and Charles Morgan were hoping to set a precedent of purchasing one ambulance a year, rather than two every other year, to keep the fleet current. As each vehicle reaches 230,000 miles, the state requires them to be inspected every 20,000 miles at a cost of $200 for each inspection. Buying one a year would keep the fleet current and prevent the inspection requirement.
While the Safety Committee approved the inclusion of one ambulance purchase in the department’s budget for fiscal year 2015-16, members of the county’s Budget and Finance Committee removed it because the department purchased an ambulance in fiscal year 2014-15.
EMS director Brian Jennings says $110,000 would be more than enough to cover the cost of the purchase and his department should have up to $340,000 remaining in its budget at the end of the fiscal year which would be more than enough to cover the expense.
“They have already estimated our fund balance at the beginning of the year and what would be used in our operation throughout the year,” said Jennings. “We have a $330,000 or $340,000 estimated fund balance at the end of this fiscal year of 2015-16. So, the $110,000 does not exceed that. If we do not spend it, it will remain in that account and fall back into our fund balance for next year. It doesn’t go anywhere. It remains in our fund balance.”
Committee members voted unanimously to draft a resolution for the fund transfer. It will be sent to the full Warren County Commission for its consideration.