Morenci EMS service assessment to increase 04.28.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The Morenci Area EMS is faring better than ever in keeping its budget in line, reported coordinator Larry Weeks, but that doesn’t leave much money for ambulance replacement.

The EMS board is proposing a 10 percent increase in the assessment, with the additional cash placed in a fund for a new ambulance.

“We’ve done fairly well this year,” Weeks said. “We’re continuing to cut costs and use money wisely, but we cannot save enough to buy an ambulance.”

The 2003 primary ambulance has traveled 91,000 miles and the backup unit—a 1997 vehicle—has 153,000 miles of use. The 2003 model will paid off in January 2013.

Ambulance services typically use a unit for five years as the primary vehicle, then another five years as the secondary one. In areas with lower milage, such as Morenci’s situation, a vehicle may be used for 15 years. Weeks figures Morenci’s backup unit will reach 15 years before it is retire.

A 10 percent increase would cost Morenci residents and those from Seneca and Medina townships an additional $8.25 a year and $5.50 for apartment buildings and duplexes. The increase would bring in about $15,000 annually for ambulance replacement. A new vehicle costs from $120,000 to $150,000.

The increase for Morenci residents could be softened if council votes to pay off the sewer project bond early. That would reduce the tax bill by $120.

Weeks said there’s still confusion about how the ambulance service is funded. About half of the revenue comes from assessments and the other half from billing for services, either to insurance companies or directly to the user of the service.

“The special assessment only assures that the service is available,” he said, and is far short of covering the costs.

That’s why residents are billed when an ambulance is called. The cost typically varies between $500 and $1,200, depending on the service given.

Many communities fund the ambulance service through a millage that covers the majority of costs. Morenci’s system places less of the cost on taxpayers and more on the user.

Although Weeks is proud of how he and staff members have found ways to cut costs—this is the first budget year when borrowing wasn’t needed—he has concerns about finances due to the economy.

“Revenues are anticipated to decline due to high levels of unemployment and reduced health insurance benefits to so many people,” he said.

He will begin exploring grant possibilities to cover the cost of a new ambulance, but failing that, an increase in the assessment is the only option.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017