SOUTHERN DELAWARE COUNTY – Residents of southern Delaware County are still in a quandary over an ambulance service provider after Siloam Springs, AR ambulances refused to cross state lines Jan. 1.
State legislators, city officials, county officials, emergency management personnel and residents attended an informational meeting on Jan. 22 at the Moseley School, where they listened to the latest option to remedy the situation.
Representatives from Pulse EMS told the crowd that they would provide one unit to be dedicated for coverage in the area including West Siloam Springs, Colcord, Watts and the surrounding areas at a monthly rate of $7,500 with a one time start up fee of $36,800. The start up fee is to cover cost of local communication systems, supplies, fuel, and payroll to begin the operation.
At the present time, the town of West Siloam Springs has entered into a contract with the City of Siloam Springs, AR for coverage in their city limits for $202,000 a year. Some of the surrounding regions have been added to the coverage area, but they are temporary. “Right now the coverage goes down Hwy. 412 to Flint Hill, but this service won’t last long, only until we can determine the 911 addresses that are in the city limits of West Siloam,” said West Siloam Springs Police Chief Larry Barnett.
The question of funding came into play. West Siloam Springs Mayor Elaine Carr proposed a one-cent sales tax increase for the town of West Siloam. District #2 Delaware County Commissioner Dave Kendrick talked to the crowd about passing a milage for the school districts of Moseley and Colcord. According to Kendrick, there is a 3 mil cap that can be passed. The 3 mil would collect approximately $50-$55,000 a year in revenue and would increase the property owner’s taxes $3-5 dollars a year.
By the end of the meeting, it was determined that the first order of business will be for the county commissioners to form a committee to look into what would be required to form an emergency management district. The creation of the district will have to be formed before any elections can be held to collect monies to go toward an emergency service.
In the meantime, residents in Colcord, Moseley and Watts are being covered by the Oaks and Jay ambulances. Jay Mayor Wayne Dunham addressed the group, saying that they will be glad to cooperate in any way that is needed, but that residents need to remember that it takes 30 minutes for Jay to respond to those southern areas.