By: Anna Wozniak
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The Williams County Mayors’ Association met at 6:30 p.m. at Shelly’s Diner in Edon to meet with the Williams County EMS Chief Kyle Brigle on September 20.
Brigle detailed how beneficial the Williams County EMS levy would be to the local municipalities, expressing that this is one of the only counties in Ohio that has yet to fund their EMS services with a levy.
EMS was started in 1979 and has yet to see direct taxpayer funds in Williams County. Historically, EMS supported itself through transfer profits from transfer requests.
This low amount of funding has resulted in a lack of ambulances for covering Williams County, creating high response times in many rural communities, mostly in part because volunteers are becoming harder and harder to find.
With the costs of living rising, many people cannot afford to spend time volunteering (and training to volunteer), so the need for competitive wages is dire.
Not only would this levy ensure that response times to Williams County communities will be halved -with lifesaving, time sensitive actions being able to be made twice as fast- it also will allow for all county residents to receive no bill after insurance.
Brigle detailed how this levy will serve as county residents “paying” for EMS services, resulting in a “soft billing” process that will see no funds collected from county residents after insurance is invoiced.
Brigle then shared that many residents don’t know that EMS is not compulsory like the fire department and police departments are, and that many think some of their taxes are already going towards EMS, when that isn’t the case for Williams County.
Discussion was then held on what the largest factors on the recent decline of EMS volunteers are, with the focus shifting towards the necessity of competitive wages for EMS workers.
Williams County EMS has to compete with local facilities hiring wages so that they can remain staffed, and this levy would help the EMS stations see adequate staff levels with competitive wages and benefits.
With nothing further to address, the Williams County Mayors’ Association thanked Chief Brigle for his time and willingness to answer questions before they adjourned at 7:23 p.m.
Anna can be reached at email@example.com