Archive for Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Douglas County learns Baldwin City will lose an ambulance in 2011

A day after news got out about the Lawrence City Commission doing away with ambulance service to Baldwin City, that decision was reversed. County officials pointed out that would violate a 1996 agreement and now the old familiar No. 11 ambulance will remain in Baldwin City.

A day after news got out about the Lawrence City Commission doing away with ambulance service to Baldwin City, that decision was reversed. County officials pointed out that would violate a 1996 agreement and now the old familiar No. 11 ambulance will remain in Baldwin City.

July 14, 2010

A Baldwin City-based ambulance is on track to be eliminated next year, with half its crew to be recalled to Lawrence, Douglas County commissioners learned Tuesday.

The Baldwin City-based ambulance service — posted for the past 12 years in a converted home south of Baldwin High School — would be replaced with a slimmed-down version: a fully stocked SUV or similar vehicle, to be operated by a paramedic but without the emergency medical technician necessary to transport patients.

The shift would be expected to save Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical $65,000 next year in overtime expenses.

“We have the reduction in our costs, our personnel costs, but I believe it reduces the service level in the county that we’ve been accustomed to,” acknowledged Mark Bradford, the department’s chief, during a budget hearing at the Douglas County Courthouse.

County commissioners learned of the planned shift Tuesday morning, during their second day of hearings regarding their proposed $69 million budget for 2011.

The decision about the ambulance is officially out of their hands — it’s been outlined in next year’s proposed budget for the city of Lawrence — but it represents one of many spending decisions being driven by dwindling revenues and economic pressures facing local governments and their constituents.

Commissioners still are considering a county budget that would include an increase in property taxes: 5.23 mills as of Tuesday, after having been 5.44 mills just last week. With a mill equal to $1 in tax for each $1,000 in a property’s assessed valuation, the owner of a $150,000 home would pay another $90.22 in taxes next year.

The budget doesn’t include keeping an ambulance on duty in Baldwin City, where the existing crew focuses its attention on calls in the southern third of the county.

Even with the budget cut, area residents would still have access to emergency services. A paramedic would remain stationed in Baldwin City, ready to respond to accidents and other emergencies, Bradford said.

But the vehicle would not be able to transport anyone to a hospital. For that, he said, people would need to wait for an ambulance to come from elsewhere.

The remaining five ambulances all would be based out of stations in Lawrence, with an ability to respond to sites anywhere in the county.

“It’s a necessary step taken by the city to meet their objectives,” said County Administrator Craig Weinaug, of city commissioners’ desire to not increase the city’s property tax rate. “Whether the savings involved is worth the diminishment of services is really a political call. … It’s their prerogative to make the call.”

Douglas County pays a share of personnel costs for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical.

County Commissioner Jim Flory said he would be open to looking into options for retaining the ambulance in Baldwin City, including the possibility of the county providing additional financing. Such discussions will come later, likely next week during budget hearings.

Commissioners intend to accept public comment about their ongoing budget deliberations during a meeting at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at the County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.


loosecaboose 11 years, 2 months ago

Yup, raise our taxes, cut our services.


Torch 11 years, 2 months ago

The result of over-spending in the first place.


BaldwinDad 11 years, 2 months ago

It always amazes me that people still don't realize how inefficient Govt is.


beevo 11 years, 2 months ago

This is a lot more than loss of services! We should regard the heartless remarks by the Douglas Co. commissioners as a serious death threat to our families and everyone else living in Baldwin City & Southern Douglas Co. According to them a life in Southern Douglas County isn’t worth much. In order to save the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical $65,000 next year in overtime expenses they are putting all our lives at risk. Currently the time to transport a patient from Baldwin City to Lawrence Memorial Hospital is about 40 minutes not including response time, on scene treatment, loading & unloading the patient. That time will increase well over 70 minutes excluding communications, on scene treatment and the loading & unloading of a patient or patients. You will no longer have that “Golden Hour”. It means after one hour the survival rate for traumatic patients is alleged to fall off dramatically. Isn’t your child’s life and those of us living in Southern Douglas Co. worth more than $65,000? We need to take some action!


TheOnlyGreyghost 11 years, 2 months ago

That would be .... heartless Lawrence city commissioners.

The Dg Co commissioners (as the story says) will discuss this soon, probably last week--and they are taking public comments. So be sure to follow up your comments here with a call or email to the commissioners.

If they hear enough outrage from citizens in the southern part of the county, they might be able to find a way to keep the service here.


Stacy Napier 11 years, 2 months ago

As you can see from the new story it was all up to Corliss not the DGCO commissioners.


beevo 11 years, 2 months ago

Lawrence's City Manager David Corliss has made a very large mistake. His actions to scuttle the Baldwin City-based ambulance was not a smart move. He might be book smart but he seems to lack good old common sense. He should also do his homework so he won't make errors in state licensing guidelines and violate legal agreement's that affect thousands of tax payers! His comment “I do not apologize for looking for ways to cut the budget,” is both callus and cold! We the people of Southern Douglas County thank Douglas County Commissioner Jim Flory and County Administrator Craig Weinaug for correcting Mr Corliss's grievous errors.


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