It is budget time in Warren County government. Over the next four months, commissioners will be reviewing budgets for fiscal year 2015-16.
The county’s Safety Committee with members Teddy Boyd, Carl D. Bouldin, Randy England, Ron Lee and Charles Morgan is looking to set a precedent of purchasing one ambulance a year to keep the fleet current.
“It looks like you are buying two every couple of years,” said Bouldin to Warren County EMS director Brian Jennings. “It seems like it would be a lot less pressure to buy just one vehicle a year.”
There is an obstacle, says Morgan.
“We’ve tried that,” he said. “The problem is getting it though the Budget and Finance Committee. I understand what you are saying and we’ve been through this for years. We need to be on a buying cycle. We’ve tried to buy one ambulance a year, rather than buying two every two years.”
Warren County EMS has eight vehicles, but two are no longer being used. 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 prevent the inspection requirement and save the county money, says Bouldin.
“At the 36,816 mile per vehicle, if you buy one a year and you replaced one, you would have right at 230,000 miles on it,” said Bouldin. “That’s with six trucks. If you buy one a year, that would keep the most used right at under 230,000 miles and that would avoid having to get them inspected. Of course, if it’s a good running condition and you wanted to keep it until 250,000 miles, paying $200 for an extra 20,000 miles isn’t bad.”
The only problem in the calculation is that some vehicles are used more than others.
“I can’t remember which one it is, but one of the ambulances is averaging 42,000 miles a year,” said Bouldin. “Ideally, if you have one ambulance station that runs more, you could rotate the ambulances out and you would keep about the same mileage on all of them.”
Jennings added, “We would have to change the way the trucks are numbered, simply because the truck number corresponds to the station number. When we do our re-enrollment with the state, we would have to notify them of the change.”
The meeting was for discussion only and Jennings has not submitted his budget. Directors are encouraged to generate their proposed budgets in February. Committees begin meeting in March to review them. Once approved, they must be considered and approved by Budget and Finance Committee in April, Financial Management Committee in May, and the full Warren County Commission in June. Changes can be made anywhere in the process.