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Menard County EMS Discusses Cost Cutting Measures
Menard County's EMS is trying to save tens of thousands of dollars, and that means cutting back on services.
At Thursday's budget meeting, Menard County board members suggested eliminating the Medi-Van, which may result in one job loss. The service takes Menard County residents to doctor appointments in Springfield.
Other cost-cutting suggestions for the county-owned EMS including selling the morgue van for the coroner's office (ambulances will be used instead) and scaling back on travel costs, among other efforts. Officials aren't sure yet how much these will save.
Department heads proposed ways for new revenue. To help, it will charge schools more money to have paramedics at football games, and begin to charge for EMS at the county fair.
The county does have additional money from property taxes that the board may approve to help EMS' bottom line.
"We do have a fund balance, so we do have extra funds that are available to offset the deficit," EMS fiscal officer Dara Worthington said. "With the cuts proposed along with diverting property taxes, we should have a much better picture for fiscal year 2013."
"Menard County is a county that provides a lot of services," Menard County Board Chairman Merle Kirby said. "We only have 12,000 people. There's just not enough people to finance everything we'd like to do."
The biggest reasons for the department's deficit? EMS is owed $700,000 from ambulance services. Plus, worker's compensation rates have increased, along with wage increases, per union contracts.
Menard County's budget, including these cuts, is expected to be approved in late November.