Rural responders to start 911 mapping their own areas

Friday, January 24, 2014 ~ Updated 4:56 PM

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Eureka Springs Fire Chief Rhys Williams expressed concerns Tuesday to the Western Carroll County Ambulance District board over the Carroll County Quorum Court defunding the county's mapping and 911 coordination office in the 2014 budget.

Those jobs are being assumed by the Assessor's office and the sheriff's dispatch center.

"I can see a problem coming down the road," he said, referring to the Eureka Springs rural areas. As the holder of the ambulance contract with WCCAD, the Eureka Springs Fire Department responds to medical calls in the rural fire districts served by WCCAD. Many addresses are difficult to find, Williams said.

"In Eureka Springs Rural, we're going to go out and start running these roads to get our maps updated. We're going to take care of it."

He said many addresses aren't marked.

"We've even found some county roads that aren't marked," he said.

He said they will be putting unmarked addresses on their own maps and also asking residents to get markers to put on their mailboxes or on a post at the end of the driveway.

"Do you think Berryville and Green Forest will have problems, also?" asked Chairman Joe McClung, Jr.

Williams said he thought they would.

The board discussed adding two more commissioners to their ranks, as approved by the state legislature amending the ambulance statute last year. One commissioner each from the Holiday Island Rural Fire District and from Grassy Knob will be added. The current three commissioners are from Inspiration Point, Eureka Springs Rural and Holiday Island District.

McClung said Ann Marie Lee from Grassy Knob sent a letter expressing interest in serving on the board. Judy Giggey from Holiday Island Rural is also interested, he said. These names will be forwarded to the Quorum Court for its approval, and the two new terms are due to start July 1. One commissioner will serve four years and the other five; after that they will revert to staggered three-year terms, like other commissioners.' Terms will be staggered.

The board approved a motion to get quotes to conduct a financial audit for both 2012 and 2013, not to exceed $750 for both years and to be completed by April 30.

The board approved its proposed 2014 budget, which anticipates $290,000 in tax revenue income, with $252,000 going to the ambulance service contract and $34,000 going to WCCAD expenses for equipment, supplies and training for Emergency Medical Responders, leaving a $4,000 surplus. Last year's surplus was $13,365, said Treasurer Ken Mills. As of Dec. 31, WCCAD's net worth was around $304,000. Mills said the budget does not account for needing to replace a large group of Automatic External Defibrillators at one time.

Ambulance performance reports from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 last year show Holiday Island had 122 calls; Hwy. 62 East, 19; Hwy. 23 South, 18; Grassy Knob, 17; Inspiration Point, 12; and Hwy. 62 West, 3.

WCCAD has scheduled its next meeting for Tuesday, March 18 at 4 p.m. at the Eureka Springs Fire Station.

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