Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 147
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for July 12, 2002

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

The quest toward settling on ambulance service continues to progress in its muddled fashion. The City of Holden doesn’t want anything to do with running an ambulance whether or not it costs them money; they’re ready to turn their part of the county over to a private contractor. At least one of the Ambulance Board members wants the board to hire a bunch of paramedics and EMTs and actually operate the service. The City of Warrensburg’s internal advisory board wants the Ambulance Board to decide quickly if the city will have the opportunity to have a contract, but even one of the city advisors would rather they quit than operate under a contract that covers costs.

There are some basic questions that shouldn’t be too difficult to estimate. First, how many manning slots does Warrensburg need under their current configuration (or any desired expanded configuration) and the wage structure involved. Second, how many slots would Warrensburg & the district need if Warrensburg were doing fire only and the district were hiring its own staff, as well as the relative wage rates; allow for changes in supervision/management as well. That would give a good idea of which option would cost more.

Another interesting question is raised by a published comment that Warrensburg had lost $853,263 over 5 years of ambulance operation. This averages to less than $200,000 a year, well below the figures we were provided during the campaign for the new district. One wonders how this information would impact negotiations between the Board and the City. Another published comment said that Warrensburg has been providing free service outside the city. While technically true, Warrensburg should not forget that a substantial portion of its sales tax revenue comes from purchases by country folks.

While I have often criticized Warrenburg’s overall management in the past, the city certainly deserves a quick answer on this question. Uncertainty prevents planning by government and employee alike and will ultimately increase costs.

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