Here's the latest on the scheme for an interlocal no-bid ambulance service being pushed by John Gibson, board member of Central Medical Emergency Service and county administrator for Washington County Judge Jerry Hunton, who sees no conflict of interest in his actions. The Morning News reports that Gibson began making the rounds this week to small cities gathering support for the creation of an ambulance authority to oversee a regional ambulance service, which, of course, will be his own CEMS.
What is becoming clear is that the county and the smaller cities want Fayetteville to carry the financial burden while they contribute far less to assure ambulance for the rest of the county. "The success of the authority may hinge on whether Fayetteville participates in the county-wide venture. [Johnson Mayor Lonnie] Barron worries whether the venture would be financially feasible for smaller cities if Fayetteville isn't part of the authority. "If there's no Fayetteville, I don't see how the rest of us can afford it," Barron said. "All of us little towns already have financial problems."
Well, breaking news, Fayetteville also has serious budget problems, too. Fayetteville currently pays almost two-thirds of the costs of the ambulance service that operates county-wide. Gibson wants that to continue, and he doesn't want Fayetteville to take bids to get the best deal for ambulance service for its citizens. He wants the City Council to turn over all control to his proposed interlocal group and just keep paying $4 per resident without asking questions.