The Gray County Commissioners approved a new contract with Gray County EMS (Hemphill County Hospital District) for county-wide ambulance service that will run through Sept. 30, 2025.
The move comes after some discussion about whether or not the County should have to pay for EMS calls made to the County Jail.
“The Hospital District told me that last year it was less than $4,000 (for the calls to the Jail),” Commissioner Jeff Haley said. “Which, to me, is better than $140,000 we were subsidizing to have service and have something in McLean.”
Haley noted the Hospital District wasn’t aware of issues with the contract concerning charges for jail calls and said it’s not necessarily an apples to apples comparison on the charging of inmate transfers.
There was some discussion with City Manager Shane Stokes about their budget process for the new ambulance and whether or not Stokes was approached with the new contract, to which Stokes said he had received an e-mail for it.
County Judge Chris Porter said he doesn’t want to go back to an agreement similar to what they had with Pampa EMS and said the new service has worked very well.
“I have no desire to go back to what we had before and this has worked really well,” Porter said. “On the $50,000 for a new ambulance, we were told there would be a third ambulance and they would provide it.
“My problem with this is their call rate has been way up through the pandemic from what any of us imagined when we first signed this agreement. It grates me a little bit that they have had a very high call volume and they are coming us on a new ambulance.”
Porter then read the amendment to the contract concerning the new ambulance and Commissioner Lake Arrington asked if Stokes believed the City Commissioners would approve the item.
“With the funding of it, it’ll be accounted for in our budget as we go through the budget process,” Stokes said. “Once the budget is approved it’ll be in there.”
Porter and Stokes noted that in regards to ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) funding, if more than one entity goes into an agreement on purchasing an item with the funds, they are all accountable for each others’ spending on it.
“If you give any of your ARPA money to an entity who also received ARPA money, now not only do you have to account for all of your spending, you have to account for all of their ARPA spending, as well,” Stokes said. “You have to make sure they are in compliance with their ARPA money. It’s very tricky on the reporting end of it. That’s why it’s my intention to budget that money (for the ambulance) with general fund revenue budget money.”
The current agreement runs through Sept. 30 of this year. The amendment doesn’t state that the ambulance would stay in Gray County, Haley noted it may be worth clarifying that be the case. Porter asked Gray County EMS’ Jacob Clifton about the ambulance.
“It will be a new one and be Covid-ready with all of the extra filtration,” Clifton said. “It will be based here in Pampa.”
Porter added his intention was not to rattle the relationship between Gray County and Hemphill County EMS.
Commisisoner John Mark Baggerman asked what the charge is for jail service calls and Clifton said ti was around $1,000 which is “very cheap compared to most places.”
Clifton said the District has ordered the ambulance in good faith the County and City would approve going in on the purchase.
Arrington said the jail service fees don’t bother him. Commissioner Logan Hudson said he would like to wait until the budget process to order.
The Commissioners approved the contract through Sept. 30, 2025. The item will be funded by the tax funds with the ARPA funds being moved as a line-item transfer.
The Commissioners also approved:
• Minutes of the previous meeting
• Pay Bills as Approved by the County Auditor
• Line-Item Transfers
• Budget Amendments
• Road Crossing Request at Acker and McCracken Road Intersection
• Pre-Action Fire Tactical Plans for City of McLean and General Area.
• Replacement of six radios and fuel reimbursement from ARPA Funds
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