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Collections picking up at ambulance service


July 06, 2011
The job of the Crawford County Council is to keep the county in good financial health, and John Gott, director of the county's ambulance service, recently delivered news that makes that task easier.

Gott, at the council's June 14 meeting at the judicial complex in English, announced the agreement with 911 Billing Services & Consultant Inc. of Madisonville, Ky., that the county entered in the spring is paying off.

"In the past 90 days, since the 911 Billing Services has taken over, we've collected and deposited in the county's funds $79,553.77," said Gott, who became director in March. "In the past two years, last year's deposits, collections were $125,00, and the year before was $136,000. So, in 90 days, we've collected about 75 percent of what was collected last year."

Of that, $57,768 is from Medicare, with the remaining $21,785 from private insurance, Gott said, adding that all of the ambulance service's run sheets back to October 2010 have been billed.

"With that good report, we should just adjourn right now," Jerry Brewer, president of the council, joked.

Gott also informed the council that a director's vehicle had been purchased. The vehicle — a 2008 Dodge Durango with 55,000 miles — was purchased for $16,500, less than the $20,000 that had been approved by the commissioners and council, he said. The price, however, doesn't include installing emergency equipment, such as lights. Another $5,000 had been approved for that.

"We spent quite a bit less than what was asked," Gott said.

The sport-utility vehicle replaces a 2001 Ford Taurus that had served as the director's vehicle that needed several repairs.

In another matter, Jon Kuss, director of Hoosier Hills PACT, which provides a variety of services, including substance abuse counseling and education, to inmates at the jail and junior high school students, requested $7,500.

Kuss said PACT's funding comes from annual contributions from each of the counties it serves — Crawford County provides $20,000 each year — as well as grant dollars for its individual programs. Unfortunately, he said, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, which funds youth programming, has announced that it will reduce its funding, leaving the programming in a perilous financial situation.

"This is the first time in my 13 years I've come to ask for anything more, so, hopefully, you understand I don't do this lightly," Kuss said.

Brewer, noting things have changed a lot financially during the past 13 years, said that, while he isn't sure from where, the council will come up with the additional funds.

"We'll find a place," he said.

Brewer asked when PACT needed the funds, to which Kuss replied anytime before the end of the year.

Following up on an earlier request by Crawford County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Shawn Scott for funding to purchase equipment to make identification cards for children and county employees, the council voted 5-0 (members Jim Taylor and Sharon Wilson were absent) to provide $2,400.

At the May meeting, the council asked Scott to look for grant funding for the equipment, which costs $5,400.

"Grantwise, there's just nothing that's going to happen," Scott reported.

However, he said, Crawford County Community School Corp., the sheriff's department and prosecutor's office have each agreed to assist financially.

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