Paid EMS? What is the plan?
At the most recent meeting of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors a taxpayer funded EMS service was the hot topic. The supervisors were at times passionate, angry, zealous, creative, invective and vociferous, not to mention dilatory.
There were two terms that could not be used to describe the meeting, “prepared and effective.” While there were many theatrical moments and plenty of anecdotal testimonials put forward, there was no data, no plan, no proposal, no facts, no management and no leadership.
Objectively define the problem and develop a well thought out solution? Hardly! The board said “let us raise taxes and figure it all out later.” In other words, trust us to do the right thing. This, from the same board which has spent more than the tax revenue they took in for three straight years.
A partial list of information we taxpayers deserve to have to help us make a decision as to whether to support another tax increase might be:
How many requests for service per volunteer squad are there a month, week, day of the week?
What is the breakdown of requests by level of service needed?
How many requests are there by time of day?
How many of the requests go unanswered?
What is the average response time to an answered request?
How many requests are answered by “out of county” resources?
How many requests are answered by a responder that is inadequately trained for the situation?
What is the average travel distance per request?
What will it costs to start up a paid service? Capital costs?
What will be the annual operational costs?
How many people will be hired?
What are the benefits to the citizenry? Improved response time?
Where will the resource be located?
Perhaps The Enterprise was remiss in their reporting, but I read no mention of any data, charts, maps, graphs, statistical analysis, feasibility study or financial projections. As reported, the meeting seemed to take on all the elements of a reality TV show.
Perhaps the right sort of information exists and the board of supervisors chose to ignore it to put forward a highly charged, emotional appeal? If so this sort of theatrics is not helpful.
Rather than spend five hours spinning wheels and flinging up mud, I believe time would be better spent developing a cogent plan for paid EMS service. Maybe this is a project the board of supervisors could ask the management of the county to work on? We may in fact need to afford it.
Right now, though, in the words of one supervisor we are stuck “out in a muddy cornfield” with no rational plan and no support from this taxpayer. Until we taxpayers are provided a well conceived plan based on objective data explaining how we would benefit and what it would cost, we should oppose yet another tax increase.