January 23, 2011
I was the EMS Director in neighboring Montgomery County when Moore County EMS as we know it today was created. The two counties worked together to create paramedic programs in both counties and I saw firsthand the creation of an excellent EMS system emerge in Moore County. Certainly there were challenges that were faced as the integration unfolded with the various rescue agencies, fire departments that provided medical first response, etc. Nevertheless, all had one focus, to provide essential lifesaving response and work cohesively to that end.
While I am not as close to what we know today as Moore County EMS I have to say that many of those employees and volunteers remain committed to serving the citizens as they have for approximately 20 years now. I have worked with several counties through the years to identify places to save money but at the same time, focus limited revenue on what is essential; well trained/educated personnel and excellent equipment. Ambulance bases should be safe, not typically the most comfortable but certainly functional. As an example, if they lack adequate fire protection, those are simple decisions.
Moore County is in a unique situation with a dedicated tax levy for EMS as it should be and more counties should consider. There are two distinct costs for providing ambulance services; the response/care/transport event following a 9-1-1 call and the value of having equipment/personnel ready to respond (stand ready) when seconds count in saving lives. A tax levy is a great source for that "stand ready" cost.
I no longer know any of the commissioners but as taxpayer of Moore County, I do urge you (the honorable board of commissioners) to continue to support what I would like to think, you are proud of; a good EMS System. This study suggests the system has needs and has a dedicated fund that the citizens of Moore County voted to impose when the service was created. I’d love for you to cut my taxes if you feel that is appropriate but why not focus on the general fund and spend EMS tax revenues on the needs of the EMS system. Logically it would seem that if you have a balance in the EMS fund balance, and there are EMS needs, those funds should be spent to meet those needs.
This piece is just my personal opinion but if I ever need to dial 9-1-1 in Moore County, I’d like to think Fire, EMS, Rescue, Emergency Management, and Law Enforcement have, maybe not everything they want but certainly all they need to respond to my call. In my opinion, essential services for any government include a focus to serve its citizens, from education including a great community college, to public health and public safety and do that in a manner that is fiscally responsible. And to me, maintaining fiscal responsibility includes continued support of the EMS system and EMS fund that was voted in by the citizens of Moore County.