The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
The Ambulance Board has suffered yet another debacle in its quest to establish its very own little ambulance empire in Johnson County. This time, their hired director resigned little over a month before their most recently rescheduled start-up date of May 1st. No reason for the resignation was given, but one wonders why he would leave a well-paid position so abruptly. So, the board will have to find another director to get them started.
The Ambulance Board has jinxed itself from the beginning. Most members, elected last June by a small minority of Johnson County voters, had misled voters and the media as to whether they would give the cities a fair chance to bid on the service. It quickly became obvious that the board majority had no intention of considering any option besides creating their own service, whatever the cost.
As it became clearer that the Board would be unable to meet their projected start-up date, they contracted with Warrensburg and a private firm to provide the service in the interim. Meanwhile, the taxpayers of Warrensburg were asked to double dip with taxes, supporting the extravagances of the new Board as well as underwriting the existing service. Why do I say “extravagances”? It wasn’t that long ago that the board was talking about trying to put a sales tax on the ballot on top of its property tax.
One “extravagance” is planned construction of multiple buildings when the cities have facilities. The purchase of new ambulances isn’t an extravagance, but it should be noted that neither the planned construction nor the ambulance financing was awarded to Johnson County firms.
So here we are, a year after the election established an ambulance district, paying more and getting less, with no end in sight. When the district finally becomes operational, we’ll see if the director made a smart move to disassociate himself from the effort.
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