Morrow County Considers Changes To 911 & EMS Services

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UPDATED: Monday March 31, 2014 8:11 PM

Changes could be coming to emergency services in Morrow County.

That's the goal of county leaders, who are considering proposals from bidders to take over 911 and Emergency Medical Services.

But some say their plan just isn't realistic.

Morrow County EMS has been run by the same private, non-profit company since the early 1970's.

Commissioners want to know if someone else can provide better, faster, more efficient emergency care.

Those currently in charge say not without more money from taxpayers

They are the people who answer your 911 calls, and the medics who respond when you need emergency help.

Their work is literally a matter of life and death.

Morrow County Commissioner Richard Miller says his county is due for an upgrade.

"I think this RFP will point out that we can do a lot better with tax dollars and service," Miller said.

The RFP he speaks of is a "Request for Proposals” asking for bids from companies to run Morrow County’s EMS and 911 operation.

"When you go to the market, those people will make a bid for a dollar amount to provide these services. And we're going to try to get the most we can for the number of dollars, and then a plan to fix the stuff we need fixed in the future," Miller said.

Commissioners want to hear ideas on how to reposition the county’s five EMS stations to improve response times.

They also want a Paramedic on each emergency response vehicle, and to have 911 Dispatchers trained and able to provide emergency medical guidance until the medic arrives.

Also in their RFP: better pay and benefits for EMS employees.

Officials with the Morrow County Firefighters and Squadsmen’s Association, the company currently running EMS, say the Commissioners' wish list is a good one, but completely unrealistic when it comes to cost.

"The first step in enlarging any kind of emergency service is to sit down with the people and find what they're willing to pay for," said Association Treasurer Greg Young.

"We absolutely agree there's room for improvement,” said Morrow County EMS Chief Jeff Sparks. “But room for improvement incurs a cost. And that's the largest issue with the RFP.  We believe that to get to where they need to be, they're going to have to be at 3.5 mills or better rather than the 2 mill levy that they're currently at."

Miller says he believes Commissioners can get their wish list met with current levy revenues.

If not, he says it's possible they could ask for a levy increase from voters.

The deadline for bids is April 9.
            
Commissioners plan to select a winning bid May 7, with a new contract taking effect December 31.

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