GLASGOW – The Special Barren County Ambulance Service Taxing District has received its first bills for the financial commitments of Glasgow and Barren County governments for the Barren-Metcalfe County Ambulance Service.
Each of those two government entities is responsible for 30 percent of the service's deficit not covered by operational and other revenue, and the funds had been coming though their respective general funds. The establishment of the special taxing district at the end of 2016 created a revenue source specifically for that purpose, and the tax first started being collected with the property tax bills that went out last fall.
The detailed bills were neither opened nor discussed at Wednesday's regular meeting due to delays with getting the newest board member, James Isenberg, established in his role as the group's secretary-treasurer. Isenberg acknowledged their receipt and passed along the invoices, for the meantime, to the chair for keeping in the financial binder the previous secretary-treasurer, Vivian Franklin, had compiled and provided to Sydney Knicely.
Charlie O'Neal, executive director for the Barren-Metcalfe County Ambulance Service, said he thought the total deficit for January was approximately $46,000, so Glasgow's and Barren County's bills would each be for $13,800. Metcalfe County, through its own taxing district, and T.J. Samson Community Hospital each pay 20 percent as well.
Martin Peterson, the taxing district board's vice chairman, had attended the January meeting of the ambulance service's board of directors and discussed a few points of interest to him related to the deficit, the first of which was that the deficit, at the end of December or 50 percent through the fiscal year, was at 63 percent of what was budgeted for the fiscal year.
O'Neal said two primary reasons for that were capital equipment purchases made at the beginning of the fiscal year and, in an effort to save on some fees, the entire year's workers compensation premiums had been paid up front rather than in increments. He said he would, in turn, expect the deficit for the latter half of the year to even out, but he did not dispute with Peterson that the deficit for the year may be larger than budgeted.
Peterson said the taxing district in Metcalfe County appears to be benefiting from the arrangement for what percentages of the deficit are paid, because initial cost-analysis figures indicate that the expenses for operation in that county are greater than 20 percent, and O'Neal discussed that efforts are underway to get a more precise accounting picture of how those measure. Peterson said the hospital's contribution helps cover Metcalfe's expenses, but that it appears from the first six months' deficit that even the two contributions to the deficit combined – Metcalfe's and the hospital's – may not be covering the expenses for Metcalfe's operations.
O'Neal said that a few more months' of financial data are needed before the proportioning of costs is clear. The new accounting approach started with some things in September he said, but the more detailed work to break down expenses by station, not just county, started in earnest at the beginning of the year, he has said.
In other business:
• Isenberg said he had not gotten his bond in place yet because of communication misses between the insurer and him, but he was heading to that office immediately after Wednesday's meeting to get that addressed, hopefully. Isenberg said that because he was not bonded, he also had not signed the bank signature card yet but would do so when the bond was in place. Because of those issues, the treasurer's report was postponed.
• The board unanimously adopted an amendment to the bylaws allowing the secretary-treasurer to delegate the duties of keeping the minutes of the meetings and ensure that meeting notices are provided according to the law “to another qualified person who is willing and able to competently perform such duties.” The change came as an acknowledgement that O'Neal had offered at the last meeting to do those tasks to take some of the load off the secretary-treasurer. He had proposed creating a section of the bylaws authorizing use of an “executive secretary” and/or “finance officer” and also proposed wording for a position description for that person. Peterson, though, proposed the wording that was actually adopted and said he felt it addressed the situation sufficiently without creating a specific position. He said he deliberately limited the role so the perception would not be created that the board members were passing along too many of their responsibilities.
• The board unanimously adopted a policy regarding the procedure for the payment of claims.
• The board re-elected Sydney Knicely and Peterson as chair and vice chair, respectively, and elected Isenberg as secretary-treasurer by acclamation.
• O'Neal provided a brief, verbal equipment-and-operations update to the board.
• The next regular meeting is set for 3 p.m. March 7 in the Barren County Fiscal Court Conference Room, third floor, Barren County Government Center.