As Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters reviews the different ideas for ambulance service for Chattooga County, one question can be answered up front – the county will have to increase revenue to continue to provide ambulance service for citizens of Chattooga County if the commissioner makes the decision not to go with a private provider.
Currently property taxes do not pay for ambulance service in Chattooga County. The revenue for the county EMS comes from the malt beverage tax. Chattooga County has seen it’s revenue from malt beverages slipping over the past couple of years. EMS Director Herbert Dodd was quoted in The Summerville News this week as saying, "Everybody that I talked to said they would be willing to pay an extra $10 a year. I’ve not had the first person yet that says they would not be willing to pay more."
Meanwhile, some Floyd County residents are not happy with the idea of Floyd Medical Center providing ambulance service outside of Floyd County. One Armuchee resident told AM 1180 that he had no problem with Redmond, a private hospital, providing service in Chattooga County, but that already Redmond is taking up the slack for Floyd EMS in their service area. That sentiment was echoed in readers comments to an online story about Chattooga County’s ambulance question on the Rome News Tribune web site. (http://www.romenews-tribune.com/view/full_story/10372189/article-Chattooga-could-turn-to-Redmond-or-FMC-for-ambulance-service?)
Commisisoner Winters has told AM 1180 that using a private ambulance service is not a foregone conclusion and that he wants to look at all options. There is little doubt that if Chattooga County continues to operate its own ambulance service taxes and / or fees will be raised. These and other questions will be discussed at a public meeting set for December 4th at the Chattooga County Civic Center is Summerville at 6 PM.