Questions raised about Rescue Squad funds

Published 4:40 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors presented a check to the Cartersville Volunteer Rescue Squad (CVVRS) of $18,985 during its meeting Tuesday.

The funds, according to District One Supervisor William “Bill” Osl, were initially approved for appropriation January 2018. Osl cited that there had been a delay of more than 12 months between the initial appropriation and when the rescue squad received the funds. This meant, according to Osl, that the squad did not receive funding from the county for more than a year.

Osl and CVVRS President Earlene Canaan cited potential issues of communication that may have contributed to a delay in appropriation.

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Osl said he was not aware that the department did not receive the funding until he was recently notified by the department.

“I’m not sure why it’s being held up at this point,” Osl said. “It’s been in the budget. It’s been appropriated, and a contribution should be made.”

He said the delay in appropriation raised questions about the county’s support of the squad.

He said he, as a board member, was not aware of a delay in funding.

“I don’t know why it hasn’t already been made,” Osl said. He said a motion would not be necessary unless the board wanted to create a policy relating to the appropriation.

“I agree with you 100 percent,” District Three Supervisor Kevin Ingle said. “It was in the budget. We need to go ahead and release it. I know we’ve got a lot of challenges facing us next year. This doesn’t need to be one of them.”

Osl said the squad is working to gain more members, saying two members are currently enrolled in training and certification classes. Canaan said they initially had six people in the class, but four had to drop out due to the increased requirements needed for certification.

“We need to send them a positive message,” Osl said.

“The rescue squad is still operating,” Osl said, saying that the department needed support for its expenses.

The board presented the check to the CVVRS treasurer as audience members applauded.

Canaan spoke during the meeting, and said due to the limited EMT providers last year, the squad could not provide 24/7 coverage.

Canaan cited that the squad has been increasing its service in the past year.

“We have three crews,” Canaan said. “We cover three nights. We have been able to increase our day coverage.”

Canaan said they were able to support their squad without county contribution due to fundraising efforts by the squad’s vice president and community members.

“(The) Cartersville community produced that squad and continues to support that squad,” Canaan said.

Canaan expressed concern about a lack of communication between the squad and county about the appropriation.

“That needs to be fixed,” Canaan said.

Five speakers during the meeting’s public comment period spoke in support of the CVVRS.

One speaker, Brian Stanley, said he had a severe allergic reaction earlier in the day. He said that if it was not for the close proximity to the CVVRS, it would have taken another rescue squad approximately 20 minutes to get to him, and approximately 30 minutes to drive to a hospital.

“This is very real to us in Cartersville,” Stanley said.