Jacksboro, TN (WLAF) – The Campbell County Commission concluded a rather brief and routine monthly meeting on Monday by passing two measures aimed to help the ailing Campbell County Ambulance Service.
The first was a motion by Rusty Orick to close Campbell County to private commercial ambulance services in the event that the current owner of Vital Care ceases to own and operate that service.
Vital Care, owned by former County EMS Director John Bond, has been blamed for several years with taking many of the non-emergency, and more profitable, ambulance runs from the county system, leaving taxpayers having to prop up the financially stressed county EMS.
The commissioners voted 11-2 to approve the resolution after County Attorney Joe Coker confirmed that CTAS had confirmed that legal precedent allowed such a move as other counties have already closed their service areas to private competitors. Scott Stanfield and Robert Higginbotham both voted “no” on the motion.
The commission then approved another motion supporting a sign-on bonus to new paramedics in an effort to fill gaps in the county’s EMT personnel and alleviate a $260,000 cost in overtime presently being paid out to ambulance service technicians.
The county needs to hire up to eight additional EMTs in order to eliminate the need for paying overtime, Orick pointed out, while adding that new paramedics being trained are not likely to meet the need as Roane State Community College has only three current paramedic graduates.
Another neighboring ambulance service, AMR, already offers a $5,000 signing bonus and is attracting most new graduates, it was pointed out. The motion to offer the signing bonus was approved unanimously.
Before adjourning, the commission also received an update from the animal shelter director, who explained the shelter is currently unable to take any new animals until a highly contagious strain of parainfluenza has been cleared from the shelter. The virus was discovered by lab analysis at UT in some sick shelter dogs.
The commission adjourned after setting a meeting to begin the budget process on Monday, May 30 at 5:30 p.m. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/21/2019-6AM)