Finance increases EMS overtime budget

By LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted 11/21/17

It's evident Bradley County's Emergency Medical Services cannot find adequate part-time help.The Bradley County Commission's Finance Committee, meeting in the Courthouse Annex Monday afternoon, …

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Finance increases EMS overtime budget

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It's evident Bradley County's Emergency Medical Services cannot find adequate part-time help.

The Bradley County Commission's Finance Committee, meeting in the Courthouse Annex Monday afternoon, approved an amendment to move $170,000 from the department's part-time personnel budget line to the overtime line item.

Mayor D. Gary Davis emphasized that the need for the transfer is the result of unsatisfactory part-time help. 

He said part-time employees have been unable to pick up the slack during crunch time, resulting in the need to have the department's veterans fill in. This has resulted in excessive overtime payouts.

Commissioner Tom Crye asked if this transfer means EMA's overtime line item has been exhausted, and was told that it has.

"Much of the department's needs are having to be done by veterans, which requires overtime," said Davis. 

He said this $170,000 transfer "may, or may not" get EMA through the year. "Some others things are in the works," he added.

"One of the problems for the increase in overtime, are (ambulance) calls out of town," Davis added. "We need to stay more in Bradley County."

One cost-saving option being explored by the county and EMA  is not purchasing a third of three new ambulances. Commissioner Dan Rawls emphasized the county needs this third ambulance, if at all possible.

"We're just trying to get through the year," Davis continued. "There's a lot of things that work into the county's ambulance services, but the first word is 'emergency'."

At the start of Monday's Finance session, Chairman Milan Blake asked Davis about the progress of courthouse renovations and repair from the recent fire.

The mayor said the timeline continues the same, with completion anticipated in February (and no later than March). "They're through cleaning, and are now demolishing the restrooms," Davis said.

He added that a number of items have been ordered, and workers are waiting for arrival. County staff continues to work with  insurance representatives, and there are a few others issues — inside and out.

Other finance business:

• Monday was the first time for the committee meetings to go paperless, and panel members received statistics on anticipated savings... although the confusion Monday may have offset first-day savings!

Paperwork for 48 Commission meetings each year costs $89 per meeting, a total of $4,272. For 24 Finance meetings it's $1,020, or $42.50 per meeting. 

Other county meetings resuls in an additional expense, for an annual total of $5,398.

There were a number of other amendments approved. They included:

— A transfer of $5,000 to the Bradley County Sheriff's Office for legal fees;

— A movement of $100,000 in reserve money (Courthouse, Workhouse and Jail) to pay toward the ESG grant. Davis said this need to be put back in the General Fund for minor asbestos abatement discovered as an aftermath of the fire.

— An amendment of $4,958 for the Bradley County Health Department for communication.

— Four amendments were for the Emergency Management Agency for radio fees.

— There were three amendments for the BCSO for services rendered. These checks were for $4,281, $1,973, and $1,383 (all three for deputies working on special details).

— The final three amendments were also for the BCSO. They included $2,000 in monies received from Polk County for latent fingerprint services for the year,  $4,250 from the litter grant from personnel to supplies and materials, and $7,987 to fix an incorrect amendment from August.

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