By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The Carter County Ambulance Board moved to raise their tax rate across the county by a small amount during their regular meeting on Monday. The raise, the maximum amount the body can raise it by law, wasn’t a huge increase. The increase was only 0.4%, which will increase the tax from .096 per $100 of valuation to .10 per $100 of valuation.
The board also moved to approve a motion setting a maximum amount of $10,000 for the replacement of EMS director Rick Loperfido’s vehicle, which was totalled in an accident recently. The accident, which was not Loperfido’s fault, caused the vehicle to be totalled by the service’s insurance company. Insurance will pay out $5,000 for the totalled vehicle. The EMS director, who is looking at different options including government surplus auctions with Judge Executive Mike Malone, will be allowed to spend up to $5,000 over the amount paid off by insurance to procure a new vehicle.
The board also moved to accept the director’s report and the financial report.
Loperfido noted in his report that July runs were up over the same month in 2019 by 64, for a total of 499 runs. That, Loperfido said, indicates that runs are returning to normal after a long period of lowered activity, which he believes was related to COVID-19 quarantine and fewer individuals on the road. The runs are still down overall for the year, by 237 runs from last year’s total numbers at this time. But, the director noted, they’re “starting to pick back up.”
He said they have conveyed a few more individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. As a result they are still requiring masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) be worn by EMTs while treating and transporting individuals. In addition they are continuing to sanitize vehicles between runs, with special attention given to cleaning and sanitizing when they’ve been informed the patient tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Loperfido said the service had also kept extra crews on standby for possible needs related to recent Black Lives Matter protests on Sundays. Though the crews were thankfully not needed, he said, they still kept them on alert. But as the demonstrations have wound down, he said, they will not have a need to keep extra staff on standby, but they will still be available if needed.
Loperfido also told the board he was moving closer to getting the helipad ready. He said they have landscaped around the pad, have ordered lights for the pad, and are pricing installation costs and striping for the pad. He reminded the board he has received a $1,000 grant that he plans to use for a portion of this cost.
The director is also working with FIVCO and Grayson Emergency Management director Roger Dunfee to get reimbursement for some payroll costs from March 1 through the end of the year, through funds available to cities and counties due to the COVID-19 crisis. The funding applies to all payroll costs except administrative costs, which would be a significant boon to the service.
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