New ambulance request for rescue squad fails to result in a motion

Published 8:44 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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Star Correspondent
Discussion at the Carter County Commission on Monday regarding the purchase of a new ambulance for the Carter County Rescue Squad failed to result in a motion.
Commissioner Robert Acuff brought up the matter at the end of the Budget Committee’s report. Acuff said the Health and Welfare Committee previously recommended the county fund an ambulance for the Rescue Squad using American Rescue Plan funding. It has also been discussed at two recent Budget Committee meetings, Acuff said.
As the proposal moved through committees, Acuff said it appears to have dropped from the budget.
Recently, a motion failed to pass at the Budget Committee to provide funding using the unassigned fund balance, Acuff said.
Acuff said the Rescue Squad needs a new ambulance due to high mileage on existing ambulances and increase wait times at hospitals in Johnson City and Bristol.
Rescue Squad Director Terry Arnold, on hand to answer questions from commissioners, said he currently has 12 ambulances and three of those have more than 300,000 miles. One of those ambulances has nearly 400,000 miles, he said, and a fourth ambulance will soon reach the 300,000 benchmark.
Each day, about seven ambulances are on the road in Carter County, he told the commission.
It is estimated to cost $221,000 for a new ambulance, which is less than what had originally been planned.
Finance Director Carolyn Watson said the county has additional revenue sources that have not been budgeted and could be used to fund an ambulance.
No action was taken. Commissioner Aaron Frazier later noted that Ballad Health recently announced it was providing a grant so the Rescue Squads can purchase a new ambulance.
The commission unanimously approved amendments totaling about $2.8 million. Frazier said the funds will be used for year-end reconciliations.
The Budget Committee and the full commission plan to meet later this month in hopes to pass its annual budget. Frazier said he believes the county could pass its budget on time. The deadline is June 30, when the commission is expected to vote on the proposal.
Commissioners also approved the addition of two members to the new audit committee, a requirement from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office. The commission added Acuff and Commissioner Brad Johnson to the committee. They will remain on the committee until another election is held in September.
During her remarks, Mayor Patty Woodby recognized the Carter County Chamber of Commerce, which recently received several Pinnacle Awards for its tourism efforts.
The Chamber won in all four categories they entered, including Brochure or Guide, Carter County Visitor Guide, Seth Hice, Designer and Media Coordinator, Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce; Print Ad, Allegiant Nonstop Life, Carter County Tourism, Seth Hice, Designer and Media Coordinator, Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce; Long Video, Explore Carter County, Erik Kitchens, Filmmaker; and Short Video, Carter County Christmas, Erik Kitchens, Filmmaker.
Chamber Director Joy McCray said they did not expect to win when they attended the event, which is held by the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association.

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