The mayor of West Siloam Springs, Okla., prayed for a solution to the ambulance deal between the town and Siloam Springs, and her prayer was answered.
An anonymous donor will pay for ambulance service, until the town finds its own funding, Mayor Elaine Carr said.
One week ago, the deal had all but fallen through because the town didn't have the money to pay the bill.
"I've been praying, praying, praying," Carr said. "I'm excited it's going to happen." The donor will pay monthly for the service, she said. The annual cost for the service is $202,000, or $16,833 monthly.
Carr must sign the service contract before it goes into effect.
"It won't be signed until after Christmas," Carr said.
Cherokee Nation Enterprises continues to work with West Siloam Springs to resolve the ambulance service issue, said Amanda Clinton, communications manager for Cherokee Nation Businesses.
Attorneys are still working out the details of the deal.
Siloam Springs Board of Directors approved the contract Oct. 21, and Mayor M.L. "Moose" Van Poucke signed it.
Siloam Springs won't need to take any more action for the ambulance service to continue next year, said Jessi Castagna, communication assistant for the city.
West Siloam Springs will look to approve a 1-cent sales tax to help pay for the service, Carr said. The tax would raise about $72,000 annually, and could be voted on in April.
The donor would continue to pay what the city couldn't raise, Carr said.
"We're going to work it out where they can pay and we'll pay," she said.
Siloam Springs ambulances will only respond to Oklahoma for calls in West Siloam Springs, starting Jan. 1. Siloam Springs Board of Directors set a Dec. 31 deadline for EMS service in Oklahoma, unless the city is paid for the service.
Other Oklahoma towns such as Watts, Colcord, and Kansas and parts of Adair and Delaware Counties will depend on Oklahoma ambulance services from the following towns, starting Jan. 1:
Oklahoma law requires the nearest ambulance to respond to an emergency.
The law was established because an Oklahoma ambulance service refused to respond to a call outside its city limits, said Shawn Rogers, director of the EMS division for Oklahoma Department of Health.
The law doesn't apply to Arkansas ambulance services.
The Oklahoma towns and counties have looked at several options to pay for ambulance service:
· Three-mill property tax
· Utility bill tax
· Mobile phone tax
These options would require voter approval, and if approved, would go into effect as early as summer 2009.
Siloam Springs has offered ambulance service in Oklahoma since the late 1960s.