Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Volunteer leaders urge county admin to keep funding level
The Fire and EMS Commission met last night and urged County Administrator Doug Barnes to not reduce the money the three volunteer agencies get in the county. Two of the agencies use the money to pay volunteers for their duty hours. Here is the background.
According to Fred Messing, who is the citizen representative on the commission, Barnes gave the group a "rather sober" overview of the budgetary challenges, but he clearly reiterated support for maintaining Fire/EMS services. He asked that commission to consider areas where expenses could be reduced, including the per diem allocations, Messing said. The per diem money comes from charging insurance companies for ambulance transports. Some of that money is given to the volunteer agencies to use as they see fit.
"Each of the respective Volunteer Agency F/EMS members, and me as the Citizen Rep, reiterated to him the importance, positive impact, and cost-effectiveness of the per diem program," Messing wrote in an e-mail. "Bottom line was our unanimous feeling and recommendation that the program not be reduced or otherwise modified at this time."
He said a resolution from the commission to supervisors is going to be drafted.
"However, the commission also strongly agreed that under the serious economic environment we need to aggressively do our part to reduce expenses where possible, and a special F/EMS "mini-retreat" to consider and implement this will be held in very early March as soon as the County Admin makes available its FY 2009/2010 budget guidelines," Messing said in the e-mail.