Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Text of Ad Hoc Committee Recommendation on EMS Feasibility Study

This committee was formed to review and make recommendations on the EMS Feasibility Study (or the Study) dated April 1, 2009. This Study used the State Auditor's Performance Audit of 2006 recommendation R3.2, which says "GFD should consider combining fire and EMS operations with Greenville Township" and by cross training fire fighters and EMS personnel to become more cost effective for the citizens they serve. The Study recommended its own "Alternative 3" (of a total of 4 choices) that the City combine new EMS services into GFD. This would add an additional seven (7) employees, one Assistant Chief, three (3) ambulances, various equipment purchases and additional training for current firefighters. This Ad Hoc committee met five (5) times; June 19, July 17, August 7, August 8, and August 31, 2009. Each meeting was extremely well attended by citizens and concerned or interested individuals or groups. An abundance of information, data and emotion was presented to this committee.

We find the Study's recommendation of Alternative 3 inadequate for the following reasons.

  • It creates new instead of combining existing services.
  • It adds start-up costs of well over $800,000, by very conservative numbers.
  • It adds more employees to the City, which creates more future cost and liability.
  • It adds the possibility of having more emergency vehicles interacting with traffic.
  • It assumed Township would sell its then unneeded ambulances and equipment. Township Trustees stated that no equipment would be sold off.
  • It assumed Township would eliminate the current 3 mil levy against City citizens. That would probably require costly litigation and the untold cost of undermining future interaction between the City and the Township.
  • It assumed the City could pass a new half mil levy to support operations.
  • It assumed that soft billing could always offset operational costs; who knows what insurance billing in the future will pay?
  • It has only been supported strongly by interested individuals or groups. Individual citizens have strongly opposed it. Many citizens feel that the City would do this as a "tit for tat" reaction to Township starting a fire department.
  • It did not have the information to work with that City revenue is continually declining in this current recession, forcing spending cuts and future budget cuts.

We therefore do not recommend to Council any further action based on the Study.

We do acknowledge that other opportunities have presented themselves throughout this assignment. Former City Fire Chief Steve Birt had proposed in 2001 (?) that Township EMS and City Fire Department be combined in a joint EMS/Fire District, overseen by a separate governing body. This seems much hi line with the State Auditor's recommendation made in 2006. This concept was deemed workable by some statements made by Township Trustees, as they would be willing to work with us, but not for us. We therefore recommend to Council that further efforts mbe made between the City of Greenville and Greenville Township to consolidate our resources and cooperate with each other for the continued improvement of services to the citizens we serve.

/s/ Todd Oliver, Committee Chairman; Leon Rogers, Vice Chairman; John Baumgardner, Member

[note: The Council voted to eliminate the final paragraph from the formal resolution, as it went beyond the charge of the committee. The sentiment of Council was that further cooperation with the township would still be pursued in the future, notwithstanding the deletion of the final paragraph]

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