County discusses city's agreement with ambulance service

Training Officer for the Oktibbeha County Volunteer Fire Department Austin Check discussed the potential financial burden associated with the city's approval of an agreement with Pafford EMS during the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
By: 
LOGAN KIRKLAND
Staff Writer

The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors on Monday discussed the potential financial burden associated with the city’s approval of an agreement with Pafford EMS.

The Starkville Board of Aldermen approved the contract with Pafford EMS to provide an ambulance service within the city limits during its meeting last week.

Aldermen approved the contract with a vote of 5-2. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver and Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller voted against the contract.

The approval of the contract is contingent on Pafford agreeing to three different section revisions of the contract, which was initially rejected by the company. The approval of the EMS district is also contingent on the approval of the contract.

Training Officer for the Oktibbeha County Volunteer Fire Department Austin Check sparked the conversation during the meeting, telling the board it needed to be looking into the city’s agreement with the private entity.

“It does have the potential to have a significant impact on our operations,”Check said. “Y’all need to look into this a little harder as far as what’s going to be the outcome for the county as a whole in the long run.”

Regardless of the board’s feelings toward the hospital, Check said it is important to figure out how this decision will affect the county because the ambulance service is an “asset” to the county.

District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard agreed with Check, saying the board needs to do its due diligence.

“I’ve been a little concerned about why we haven’t been involved in any of this type of conversation going forward,” Howard said.

Check said he doesn’t have a recommendation as to what the path is moving forward.

“I can tell you just letting things ride, and seeing how it plays out in the end will not work out well for the county,” Check said. “Financially or services provided.”

Check said Oktibbeha County is not large enough to support two different ambulance services and expects one of the services to bow out as time progresses.

“I don’t see how financially this county can support two services, just the revenue stream is not there,” Check said.

President of the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors Orlando Trainer said there isn’t much the county can do at this point, since the city has already made its decision on the agreement.

Trainer said the concern now, is figuring out what the board will do with what it has left. Trainer said if the service runs a deficit, it would have to be supplemented by the county, the hospital or a combination of both.

“We will have to do something,” Trainer said “If the hospital decides they can no longer do it, it’ll be incumbent upon the Board of Supervisors.”

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