by Vernon McDaniel
As of Friday, there was a $25,000 deficit in Franklin County’s Emergency Medical Services budget, but Judge Rickey Bowman said it may not be as bad as it sounds.
Bowman said the anticipated deficit was brought to the attention of the county personnel committee at a recent meeting by county treasurer Shelly Wilson.
At the time, Bowman said, there was $23,000 in the bank to cover most of the deficit but added that had to be withdrawn on Friday in order to meet the EMS payroll.
The shortage came about, Bowman said, when an extra EMS 12-hour shift and four personnel were added to better serve the needs of the county’s more than 18,000 citizens.
It was pointed out that the city of Ozark’s ambulance service was discontinued in January.
The extra shift has reportedly already worked 161 calls.
Bowman said upon learning of the likely deficit, he had EMS manager Randy Boren lay off the four new employees but later hired them back after discovering a possible solution.
Both Bowman and Boren said EMS revenue varies week to week and what might be a deficit now could be wiped out with enhanced revenue.
Judge Bowman said he will ask the quorum court at its Aug. 15 meeting in Ozark to consider using money from the county
health one-cent tax to cover any possible EMS deficit.
The county currently has three ambulance trucks with two stationed in Ozark and one in Charleston.
Boren estimated that at least 75 percent of the ambulance calls come from Ozark. He added that the third ambulance is also
available as needed for use in Charleston.