By Bonnie Seymour
News Star Reporter
EMS service in Maysville could come to a halt if an agreement between the City of Lindsay and the Town of Maysville is not reached by the end of the year.
In July of 2013, Lindsay EMS and the Maysville Board of Trustees reached a verbal agreement with Lindsay for ambulance service.
Maysville would pay Lindsay $500 per month for ambulance service, which would cover Lindsay’s cost for basic ambulance service, but did not include private EMS runs.
However, the Maysville Trustees never put that deal in writing; the City of Lindsay never sent an invoice because there was no actual agreement; therefore the Town of Maysville never paid the agreed amount.
According to the City of Lindsay, the Lindsay EMS is in the hole to the tune of $110,000 due mostly to private residents’ unpaid ambulance charges. Approximately $12,000 of that amount is what the Town of Maysville owes Lindsay EMS.
Now Lindsay and Maysville are trying to hash out a deal to continue emergency EMS service for Maysville, which is set to end December 31, 2015.
At a special meeting of the Maysville Board of Trustees held Wednesday, July 8, Lindsay City Manager John Noblitt and their EMS Director Curtis Rhodes were on hand to discuss a possible deal with the current trustees to continue service into the coming years and hopefully guaranteeing future payment for their services by having Maysville make an increase on their citizens’ water bills.
“There is no reason that the taxpayers in the City of Lindsay should have to subsidize the Town of Maysville,” Noblitt told the Board and others present, also stating that the service to Maysville accounts for 14 percent of their budget.
“$110,000 is a lot of money that our citizens are carrying the burden on,” he went on.
Last year alone, Lindsay EMS made 153 runs to Maysville, the most of any town they service outside of their own, with the next being Bradley with 23, and others averaging around 8.
“That’s a far stretch from 100,” explained Noblitt.
The City of Lindsay is asking for a $10.00 increase on water bills, an increase that would still mean that they would be operating at a $40,000 to $50,000 deficit for their services to Maysville. Otherwise Wallville Road would be where their service would end beginning in 2016.
“So I’m Joe Blow and I’m sitting on a street corner and I’m having a heart attack. I’m over here in Maysville and I call you. You’re telling me you wouldn’t come?” Mayor Bryson Tate asked Noblitt.
After a slight hesitation Noblitt answered, “Yes, I am.”
“Well, that’s just great,” Tate replied.
“We’re in a really bad situation as a town,” said Trustee Cathy Nobles.
In all, the board feels that citizens will feel like they are being “double-dipped” as they will still be billed for ambulance, but that isn’t the case.
“You’re paying for assurance that someone will come when you call,” said John Williams, longtime Maysville resident who used to run an EMS service to the town.
“No one gets a free lunch and I’m sorry you haven’t been paid,” said Nobles.
After much discussion, the Board agreed to let Noblitt draw up a five-year plan for them to look over with a gradual increase on water bills over that time period and the possibility of an EMS membership plan, but details on that are sketchy.
When the plan is ready, which could take 30-45 days, the Maysville Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing, giving citizens a chance to speak their minds on the subject.
“We have to take this to the people. We can’t make an increase without their input,” said Tate.
Noblitt also informed Mayor Tate and the Trustees that as long as they are “working towards an end”, service would not stop for Maysville.
“If you have to have an election and it is after the end of the year, we will keep coming. As long as we are working on a solution,” said Noblitt.
The News Star will have more on this story as details become available.