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County-wide EMS talks move forward

By JIM MAURER
STAFF WRITER
TIFFIN — Ken Majors, director of Seneca County Emergency Medical Service, suggested the county meet with villages and townships for one meeting to discuss the future of ambulance service in the county.
Majors talked about the issue during the Seneca County Commissioners work session Tuesday morning.
He and Commissioner President Holly Stacy met with personnel from Green Springs, Pleasant and Adams townships Monday night and heard it may be time for a countywide ambulance district. There are now separate squads in locations throughout the county which operate with volunteers. But the number of volunteers is dwindling in some locales.
But he would like to keep the ambulance squads where they are and use compensated volunteers. It the system that has worked for 35 years and they want to do it better.
“If we go to a countywide system, we’ll have to pay more,” Majors said, “minimum wage at least.”
He said the county needs to get a legal opinion on compensation of volunteers. He also wants villages and townships to have an equal voice in any decisions.
“I was encouraged they agree they want EMS and the county is willing to support it with equipment, management, training and supplies,” Stacy said.
The commissioners have focused on services offered by Hopewell Township, which includes Bascom. A fire and ambulance service are operated with a 1.2 mill levy, which cost a property owner with a $100,000 appraised, or market value, residence $120 annually.
In his six years working with emergency medical service, Majors said the coordinators all agree “if we don’t do something, the system will fail. We do not want that.”
He met with Bettsville personnel Tuesday night to continue discussions.
A meeting is being scheduled, possibly on a Saturday morning.
“All are starting to realize this is a big thing,” Majors said.
Separately, John Detwiler, chief executive officer of Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Services, urged residents to patronize local businesses and restaurants. He said since making visits since the first of the year, he is hearing similar comments.
“We’re dying out here,” they have been telling him. One business owner said revenue is down 50 percent from last year. They still have fixed cost and have to remain open to generate income.
David Zak, executive director of Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp., concurred with Detwiler’s comments and said he has been getting similar feedback.
During the board’s regular meeting, Commissioner Fred Zoeller suggested the Ohio 53 coalition representatives from Seneca County should include the county sheriff, engineer, himself, Zak, Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz or the city engineer. Each county is to have a group selected for meetings with the state Department of Transportation and DLZ, the Toledo consultant hired by the state to conduct a safety study of the road,
Zoeller also wants to meet with residents along the state highway to get input on their concerns and specific locations which they think should be included in the study.

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