2010-05-08 / News

Trustee believes EMS/Fire contract agreement close

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – Union Township Trustee Rick Black believes the township and the Village of Hebron may be nearing a fire contract.

He said some Hebron Village Council members are warming to having the township contribute 55 percent of the Hebron Fire Department’s operational expenses while the township keeps all EMS billing revenue generated outside the Hebron Village limits. “That’s what I’m hearing,” said Black.

Currently, the township contributes 60 percent of the department’s operational expenses and, in the most recent contract, kept all EMS billing revenue township runs generated. Trustee President John Slater believes the township should receive 60 percent of the EMS billing revenue because it provides 60 percent of the funding. Trustees want to use the revenue to offset operational expenses.

Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason said previously that giving the township 60 percent of the EMS billing revenue is “unacceptable” and there is no equal relationship between EMS billing collected and the department’s expenses. He and village council members favor placing all the revenue in a capital improvements fund that would require both parties to approve any expenditures.

Disagreement over how to distribute EMS billing revenue– government and private health insurance companies are billed whenever a patient is transported to a medical facility and the township’s contribution to the department’s operating costs have stalled negotiations over a 2010 fire contract. However, both sides are acting as if a contract is in place. The Hebron Fire Department continues to cover the unincorporated portion of the township south of the CSX railroad and the township recently made its first quarterly payment to the village.

Trustees said Monday night that they still favor administrating EMS billing for runs in the township on their own, as opposed to Hebron administrating it for all transport runs the department makes.

If the township administers its own EMS billing trustees have the option of not billing residents’ insurance companies and only billing those who live outside of Union Township. Trustees said, however, that many insurance companies already expect to pay EMS billing and people without insurance aren’t billed, so billing residents and non-residents may generate enough income to allow the township to avoid increasing the township’s fire levies.

“(EMS billing revenue) needs to go to offsetting costs, not building buildings,” said Black.

Slater said trustees need to understand how to bill for mutual aid runs and plan to consult the Licking County Prosecutor’s office for help. He said Wednesday that there’s no clear indication yet that the department that provides mutual aid transport is entitled to the EMS revenue the run generates. Slater said the EMS revenue might need to stay within the municipality where the incident occurred, even if another entity actually provided the emergency transport.

As of Wednesday, no meeting had been scheduled with village officials to continue contract negotiations.

In other township news:

• Resident Bill Wright thanked the trustees for implementing a trash district. He said he knows some residents believe a district takes away residents’ right to choose a hauler, but he believes all residents will be happy to see how much money they save on their trash collection bills. “You get equivalent service, if not better, for a lower cost,” he said.

Union Township police chief and zoning inspector Paula Greene told the trustees that seven hauling companies are thus far interested in becoming the township’s exclusive hauler. These include CMI Waste Removal Service, Falcon Sanitation, Kimble Companies of Cambridge, Ohio, Waste Management, Republic Services, Big-O, and Tunnel Hill.

Falcon Sanitation owner Ed Grubb, present at Monday night’s meeting, estimated Union Township residents’ trash bills could be reduced by 50 percent or more.

Bids will be opened May 17.

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