By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
At the April 28th Greene County Board of Supervisors meeting it was announced that the University of Virginia had given notice to end the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) contract with Greene County in October, 2020. Melissa Meador, Emergency Services Manager, informed the Supervisors that the cost to provide this service “in-house” would cost an additional $466,000. At the same meeting the Supervisors voted to maintain the personal property tax rate although the increased cost of EMS caused great concern.
Last night (5/12), Meador again addressed the EMS issue with the Board of Supervisors and she went over several options. The first was that the county could elect to not provide the service since it is not a legal requirement. While this is technically correct, she believes that the citizens of Greene County expect this service.
Another option that was reviewed was to put out a Request For Proposal (RFP) to solicit quotes for this service. This process was done in February, 2020 with no bids. Meador did not feel confident that any bids would be received and if any were received they would not be lower than the cost she estimated back in April.
A third option that she pursued was discussing joint service with Madison County. This would produce some cost reductions but Madison County has declined the proposal.
The final option that Meador presented was an update from the April 28th meeting of doing the EMS Department in house. She sited several advantages of this option including having control of the process, partnering with the rescue squad and having control and accountability.
However the key part of Meador’s presentation is that she along with County Administrator Mark Taylor have been able to reduce the cost of doing the EMS in house to actually $20,800 less than what was budgeted for UVA to do the service. This was accomplished by reducing the staffing from 19 down to 15 employees.
Meador explained that non-personnel costs for uniforms and radios would consume the $20,800 but funding from her budget and potential grants should be able to fully cover these costs.
Meador strongly recommended that this is the best path for Greene County to address this issue and highlighted that there are 155 days until October 15th, the end of the UVA contract. She strongly recommended that Greene County needs to start this process ASAP and broke it down into three phases.
The First Phase (Day 1-65) would be for hiring an EMS Supervisor along with the other positions. Phase Two would go through 90 days and would include developing procedures, scheduling and training. Finally, Phase Three would use the remaining time to finalize training and coordinate with the Rescue Squad.
Meador requested that the Board of Supervisors approve the Greene County Emergency Medical Service Department, hire an EMS Supervisor and begin hiring staff. Supervisor Stephen Bowman (Monroe) asked County Administrator Mark Taylor if this requested required a future public hearing and was told no.
Supervisor Davis Lamb (Ruckersville) asked if this proposal would stay within the current budgeted amount for EMS and Board Chairman Bill Martin (Stanardsville) said that it would. Bowman believes this is the best option and proposed a motion to go forward with Meador’s proposal. This was unanimously approved.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you. To support this important work please donate online
Photo Credit: Tenor