Dare budget proposal outlines EMS changes
Probably the most contentious piece of the proposed spending package is the EMS budget, where employees would be assigned new schedules and receive less overtime pay.
County Manager Bobby Outten presented his proposal to the Board of Commissioners Monday. Coming in at $100.85 million, the general fund budget is 0.84 percent more than last year’s.
Schools would get a $402,360 boost in local funding with a budget of $19.46 million. That represents $3,978 per pupil. The county would kick in an additional $838,837 for resources officers and school nurses.
Converting the MedFlight helicopter to meet FAA standards so that the county can can charge insurance companies and Medicare would mean hiring three more paramedics by Sept. 1 at a cost of $237,663.
Slightly less than half a million dollars will go toward start-up costs plus salaries and benefits when the new fiscal year starts July 1. Two pilots and a mechanic will be added.
To cut overtime, two EMS positions would be unfrozen and ambulances would be deployed based on call volume. Now, Outten said, 10 trucks generally have been on duty at all times.
Following past trends, trucks would number eight during offseason and off hours and 12 during peak seasonal periods under the new budget plan. Shifts of 24 hours on and 48 hours off for crews would be reworked.
“The current practice is not sustainable,” Outten said in his budget message. “It has resulted in our staff being overworked and burned out. It has caused high attrition rates, low morale, and increased liability risk to both the employees and the County.”
Outten has said that overtime in Emergency Medical Services has run over budget for several years.
EMS workers will still be able to count on overtime, but not as much as they receive working 56 hours a week under the current schedule. Many have expressed concerns at what might amount to as much as a 10 percent pay cut and scheduling that will preclude holding other jobs.
Outten’s proposal calls for the tax rate to remain at 28 cents per $100 of value.
A public hearing on the budget has been scheduled for June 4 at 10 a.m.
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