Pharos-Tribune

Columns

October 16, 2013

KITCHELL: 'Golden hour' at hand for local officials

(Continued)

With Rural Metro’s recent bankruptcy filing, it may not be the best time to expect major changes for the better in staffing, equipment on ambulances or response times. But what is clear is that this not the best time to resolve a contentious issue between city and county officials. The city already has a pending lawsuit against the county involving the unincorporated Clymers area. Wounds from the new city/county dispatching center may be healed, but there may be personal scars remaining from that chapter of city/county relations. And then there’s another contentious issue — a decision by the county to fund a new rural fire department that has reduced the available tax base for Logansport fire protection and subsequently the department’s size.

But this is an important issue that really shouldn’t wait until a new city budget is in place, or until Rural Metro’s contract with the county expires. It should be dealt with as soon as possible. How? Here’s a possible solution:

Refer the matter to the Cass County Emergency Management Agency Board. The board could independently answer questions public officials and the public in general needs to know. Among those questions is “What are the response times for ambualnce runs in both the city and rural portions of the county?” Rural Metro’s figures were presented at the council meeting, but were they accurate?

Still other questions are “Will Rural Metro upgrade ambulances and staff to alleviate the concerns in both areas?” and “Can Rural Metro’s staff and city firefighters work together?” Based on discussion at the council meeting, this is a huge concern, particularly if Logansport police has already been called to mediate a dispute between emergency response personnel working an active response scene. Another question is this: “Are two ambulances for Rural Metro enough?” Still another question is “With paramedics possibly being added to Logansport’s fire department, will more staffing be needed for LFD?”

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