November 16, 2011As part of an effort to get a better handle on the budget for the Crawford County Emergency Medical Services, the county council, meeting Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, approved Director John Gott's request to hire part-time emergency medical technicians at a lower rate.
"I would like to start the new Basic EMTs in at $9 an hour instead of the $10.23 we pay people who have been here 15 years," Gott said. "Also, as an Advanced EMT, I would like to bring them in at $9.50 an hour. That gives them a little more money than the Basics, but it reduces the amount of pay that I have to pay out, and it gives me some room to increase their pay down the road."
For example, after a year, if performance evaluation standards are met, Gott said he would favor increasing the hourly pay to $9.50 for Basic EMTs and to $10 for Advanced EMTs.
The pay change also would provide part-time employees an incentive to remain with the EMS as well as create a more fair pay structure where those who have worked longer earn more than those just hired, he said.
The amount of overtime within the EMS has been an issue for years as it has put a strain on the department's budget. Each full-time crew is scheduled to work 24-hour shifts, every fourth day. After completion of their on-duty shift, the crews then are on-call for the next 24 hours. In the average two-week pay period, they are scheduled 48 hours each week, thus automatically putting them into overtime for eight hours each week.
As of Oct. 31, the EMS had spent $168,605 on EMT salaries and on-call pay for 2011, leaving the department just $15,009 in its budget, less than what will be needed for the remainder of the year, Gott said.
(Earlier in the meeting, the council approved additional appropriations of $30,000 for EMT and on-call pay, $10,000 for overtime and holiday pay and $14,000 for part-time pay.)
More reliance on part-time EMTs would lessen the need for full-time crews to work overtime. That is important with the EMS's plans to add a second 24-hour station in the Carefree area. While additional full-time EMTs will be hired, Gott also plans on using part-time EMTs to fill the schedule. By being able to guarantee some part-time employees a specific day each week, it will help him attract additional part-time EMTs, Gott said.
Following a motion by Councilman Steve Bartels that was seconded by Jim Taylor, the council voted 6-0 to approve the new part-time pay rates. Councilman Joey Robinson was absent.
"What you have done here then," Jerry Brewer, president of the council, told Gott, "will help you for 2012 to meet your goal of no new cost to add the ambulance (in the Carefree area)."
The council also approved the Crawford County Sheriff's Department's request of $10,000 to assist in the purchase of five used cruisers from the Floyd County Sheriff's Department.
Chief Deputy Shawn Scott said the FCSD, which has sold used cars to Crawford County before, has five available, complete with equipment, for $4,000 each. In the past, the CCSD and county council have split the cost, and Scott believed Sheriff Tim Wilkerson would support doing so again.
The Floyd County cars each have about 90,000 miles, Scott said.
"All our cars right now are at about 120,000 (miles)," he said.
The CCSD has five cars that it uses just for parts that it plans to declare as surplus and then sell, Scott said.
"We've pretty much robbed these five cars to shells," he said.
Scott said the five cars that the new cars replace will be retired and used for parts.
The council voted 6-0 to approve Councilman Doug McLain's motion, which was seconded by Bartels, to approve $10,000 from Rainy Day Fund monies that had been set aside earlier this year for purchase of the former Dollar General store building in English. The council later approved the purchase of the building with different funds.
In other matters, the council:
•Approved, 6-0, a resolution expressing interest in purchasing the former Dollar General store building and approximately 2-1/2 acres it is located on in English.
The council last month approved the resolution but needed to formally approve the actual resolution prepared by the council's attorney. The council last month also voted to fund the purchase price of $175,000 plus $10,000 for improvements with Orange County riverboat wagering funds.
•Voted 6-0 to approve a resolution to provide the Crawford County 4-H Council Inc. $32,168 needed to make its annual U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan payment on the 4-H park south of Marengo. The money will come from county riverboat wagering tax dollars.
•Approved, 6-0, a resolution to provide Blue River Services Inc. $5,000 of riverboat wagering tax dollars to be used for the agency's Southern Indiana Transit System. The council traditionally has provided BRS the money each year, but BRS inadvertently failed to make a request in 2010 for this year's funds.
•Was given a letter from the Crawford County Historical and Genealogical Society detailing how it spent $5,000 of riverboat wagering tax funds it received from the county.
•Appointed, 6-0, McLain as its representative to the Crawford County Emergency Management Agency advisory council. The appointment is retroactive to Oct. 20.
•Voted 6-0 to approve several transfer and advertised additional appropriation requests, as well as the creation of new line items in the 911 Wireless Fund.
•Answered questions from Crawford County Junior-Senior High School seniors who attended the meeting, which was held in the school's media center. (See story, front page.)