Board Approves Grant Letter for Rescue Squad

Published 11:59 am Thursday, April 16, 2015

CUMBERLAND—The pro-posed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for Cumberland County was approved at the Board of Supervisors meeting held April 14. Regarding all Emergency Services needs present in the CIP, District One representative William Osl stated “We need to develop a plan, work together, to come up with how we can do this.”

That plan is beginning to come together for the Cartersville Rescue Squad (CRS) and its dire need of a new ambulance unit.

While the Board of Supervisors did not vote to directly fund a new ambulance for the squad, it approved a letter that guaranteed the County would pay half of the proposed cost of the new unit at the time of delivery.

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“Capital improvements are usually major investment items. Replacement of vehicles, modification of buildings, new buildings, renovations and they are rated according to priority,” stated District Two representative Lloyd Banks.

The Planning Commission ranking of the new ambulance was priority number one. The CRS procured a grant to split the $160,000 cost of the new unit at 50-50; the grant would cover half providing the County would match that payment.

Initially, the board passed and approved a letter for the CRS to procure a grant at an 80-20 split; the County hoped to cover the smaller portion of the vehicle’s cost. The change to 50-50, however, does mean the County will have to foot a larger part of the bill. Board member Osl pointed out that as the current unit is no longer compliant with state regulations, it is indeed a high priority. Though this may not be the golden opportunity initially sought by the board, it appeared to be a doable amount.

CRS President Earlene Canaan informed the Board that, while the CIP proposed amount for the squad totaled $200,000, it would only need to pay half of $160,000. The remaining $40,000 would be used to outfit the vehicle once delivered and did not factor into the cost of the unit itself.

“We will fundraise and do whatever we have to do to come up with the $40,000 which is going to be required to outfit, and put out on the road, the vehicle,” Canaan said. She allowed that some of the equipment will be transferred from the current unit into the new, reducing outfitting costs from $60,000 to $40,000.

But where will the proposed $80,000 come from? The money will most likely be drawn from the County’s reserves. “Traditionally, in the past, there have been circumstances where the board has agreed to utilize reserve funding or County general funds towards some of these capital improvements as needed,” Banks said.

District Three representative Kevin Engle seconded drawing from reserves with the admission, “We don’t know what the future may bring, but we know we’ve got to have an ambulance.”