(02/22/2012)
Calhoun EMS Director Josh Johnson, appearing before the Calhoun Commission, told commissioners that his agency has the autonomy to make business decisions without commission input, alluding to expanding service into Wirt County.

He said he was appearing before the Calhoun commission because he was advised to do so by the Wirt County commission.

Johnson appeared before that body regarding establishing services into Wirt County.

Johnson said he was advised by Calhoun prosecutor Rocky Holmes that Calhoun Emergency Medical Services is an independent, non-profit service which can make such decisions with the approval of their board of directors, which are appointed by the commission.

Commissioner Bob Weaver, in questioning Johnson, said "I represent the taxpayers and citizens of Calhoun County," indicating county voters support a levy to finance the ambulance operation.

Weaver further said, "The county (taxpayers) owns your ambulances, the building you operate in, pays your insurance costs, loaned you money and has given you money for operations," adamantly saying the county does have a vested interest.

"I can't understand why you are here, telling the commission we have nothing in this," Weaver said.

The Wirt County Commission would not use any taxpayer money to subsidize the expansion into their county.

Weaver asked if Johnson had a business plan. He replied he did not and was just collecting information.

Johnson contends the expansion would be a good business move for Calhoun EMS, and that he has been on a fact-finding mission about the project.

Weaver said he was baffled, if it is just a fact-finding mission, why has Johnson not approached the Calhoun Commission for feed back.

Weaver and county commissioners previously expressed concern about the finances of Calhoun EMS after reviewing an audit which showed the agency about $50,000 in the red, and previously having their credit cut off to purchase gasoline.

The EMS board, after making several changes, including the hiring of a new billing service, says the bottom line has improved.

Calhoun's 911 Center is still saying EMS personnel continue to have problems using E-911 addressing and mapping books.

See related stories WIRT COMMISSION PUTS CALHOUN EMS EXPANSION ON HOLD

CALHOUN EMS WANTS TO EXPAND TO WIRT COUNTY

CALHOUN AMBULANCE SERVICE FACING FINANCIAL COLLAPSE - "House Of Cards" Says Commissioner Helmick, Using E-911 Addresses EMS Problem


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