PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — A change to how Life EMS is dispatched to medical emergencies is drawing the ire of first responders, according to a report given by Jody Hartley at the Mason County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday at the Mason County Airport.
Hartley, a member of the board, said in his committee and agency report on how Life EMS being dispatched to medical emergencies was met with disagreement by many within the group of first responders.
“We had a 90-day trial, and Life EMS stated it would improve their response time,” Hartley said.
He said he received concerns from a variety of departments about the trial, and he said he asked to see what the statistics showed.
“The bottom line is, there is little to no difference in dispatch times for Life EMS. However, there is a significant lag in the dispatch times for first responders,” Hartley said of looking at the statistics. “My opinion is, if there is a first responder (closer) than an ambulance … I am going to vote to discontinue this approach to dispatching Life EMS in support of our rural fire authority.”
The board’s packet included a letter from the Mason County Rural Fire Authority opposing the change, and Hartley said he received other letters voicing the same concerns.
Hartley said if Mason-Oceana 911 Central Dispatch can send both Life EMS and first responders at the same time, he would be OK with that process on a trial basis.
“Otherwise, at this point in time, it’s better to go to where we were at,” he said.
The board that oversees the service meets at 10 a.m. today at its office in Pentwater Township.
TAX LEVIES APPROVED
The board approved the tax levies before it, each up to the amount that was approved by the voters in their respective circumstances. That included the senior center and senior citizens programs levy of 0.2979 mills that previously was approved at a lower rate than it could have been.
Ludington Senior Center Director Vickie Collins, Gene Kyle and Annette Quillan all thanked the board for approving the full amount in the final public comment period.
2022 BUDGET PRIORITIES
The county board discussed what direction Mason County Administrator Fabian Knizacky to take in putting a draft budget together.
The county board previously was asked to rank items to fund — 20 in all, including five items that must be funded — and each member passed those lists on to Commissioner Janet Andersen.
After discussion, Knizacky was asked to put together a draft of an unbalanced budget to indicate the costs associated with each of those priorities where the board could then cut the budget down and balance it.
But it came with a caveat. Knizacky said the board, in its deliberations, could decide to to use some of the county’s fund balance. His recommendation was to look for those one-time items that may use fund balance, if the board so chooses.