The Tuesday meeting of the Fremont County Board of Supervisors was once again dominated by confusion over the Emergency Management Department budget.
Auditor Joan Kirk explained to the Supervisors that she had tried without success to find a way to fix the error between what Emergency Management’s budget should have been and what got recorded. Kirk said she spoke with other officials and sought out other suggestions before coming to the conclusion that the mistaken amount could not be fixed until the next budget year rolled around.
This error was discussed in previous meetings when Director Mike Crecelius brought it to the attention of the Board of Supervisors that they had promised the Department support in the amount of $60,973, but the previous year’s promised support of $49,300 was recorded on budget documents.
The deadline for any budget amendments had already passed when the matter was brought up, and the Supervisors and Auditor have been struggling with figuring out how to correct the error.
Even between the Supervisors and the Auditor there was some confusion as to how the budget might be affected, with Supervisor Cara Morgan thinking only the budget of Department 99 would need changed, and Kirk insisting that both Department 99 and the budget for Department 70 would have to change.
Kirk explained that even if the Supervisors found the additional promised money, it could not just be added to Crecelius’ budget because expenditures and revenues would not account for the change and he wouldn’t be able to spend it anyway.
After considerable discussion, it was decided to table the matter again, so that it could be looked into further and additional stakeholders could be present at the next meeting to discuss the problem.
Area resident Carol Mangus appeared before the Supervisors to ask them to look into creating a paid ambulance staff, rather than the current volunteer system in the county.
Mangus’ husband had recently suffered his third heart attack within the month of May and when Mangus called 911 neither Tabor Rescue or Sidney Rescue had responded. Glenwood Rescue was called, but because so much time had already passed waiting for one of the other ambulances (over 45 minutes by this point), and Glenwood knew they would need at least 20 minutes to get to the Mangus home, Life Flight was called in.
Mangus’ husband survived the attack, but she was horrified at the lack of response from the local emergency response teams, and began looking into what had happened. Mangus said she was told and understood that the local ambulances were staffed by volunteers, and that it was graduation weekend, but said there was no way anything should take precedence over a 911 call, and if the volunteer system wasn’t working, a change needed to be made.
Mangus said she spoke with Fremont County Law Enforcement, who admitted that it could be a problem having enough people on hand to operate the ambulance, and said that fewer people were volunteering now and most wanted to be paid.
Mangus also said that she had discovered that there didn’t appear to be any type of “on call” status list for the volunteers that were still active.
Mangus asked the Supervisors what could be done about the problem, and suggested again that the County needed to look into paid staff rather than relying on volunteers. The Supervisors promised to explore what other counties had done, and Mangus promised she would be checking back with them to see what they had found out.
Landowners in the Scott Drainage District appeared before the Board to ask permission to take over management of the Scott Drainage District (currently managed by the County). Supervisor Randy Hickey explained that the landowners would need to petition the Board for that responsibility, and Morgan provided them with instructions for drainage district managers. The landowners will return with a signed petition.
In other business:
The Board of Supervisors will meet again at 9 a.m. next Tuesday.