The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors has scheduled a public hearing for Monday, June 12, 2023, at 7:15 p.m. to give citizens an opportunity to comment on the proposed ordinance amendment that would allow the county to charge fees, including those individuals with insurance, for the use of their emergency medical transport services.
These fees would then help to fund the EMS county services, which has seen a reduction in volunteerism in recent years.
In another discussion of the county’s fire and rescue services, board member Todd King expressed to other county supervisors that alternative avenues for sharing conflicts and grievances should be made available to fire and rescue personnel. The county employs some paid rescue personnel, but also many volunteers serve the county’s communities.
“We are responsible for the safety of the citizens of Montgomery County” King said. “I would like to see us have a committee drawed [sic] up and I would like for it to consist of two board members, two staff from the paid side, and one member from each department in the county for an advisory board; that way the paid side and the volunteer side will know what’s going on.”
If established, this would be in addition to the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Commission that advises the Board of Supervisors in their service equipment needs, and the position of Emergency Services Coordinator, currently held by Michael Geary, that works directly with the emergency personnel in providing training and other support.
“It is something that the fire and rescue commission took up, and we formed a committee to look into incentives to reward and thank our volunteers and it was voted down,” Supervisor Steve Fijalkowski said. “The basic response was, volunteers don’t volunteer to get rewards.”
County Administrator Craig Meadows felt that fire and rescue personnel with grievances should communicate with their current representative and coordinator, Michael Geary.
“We have a dedicated staff of some full time, a whole lot of part-time because it takes part-time to cover shifts, and the board has been very good to support that. I would say, if there’s any concerns with how that side of the house is working, Michael Geary has been very cognizant of trying to make sure that group works well with the volunteer base, if there are issues they should be brought to Michael’s attention,” Meadows said.
Meadows also said any concerns not resolved through the Emergency Services Coordinator’s office should then be brought to the board’s attention.
The Board of Supervisors also discussed the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office’s request for the use of cigarette tax revenue funding to pay for the cost of producing cigarette tax stamps. King initially requested the cigarette tax stamp be removed from the items of consent and voted on separately. The board agreed to remove the cigarette tax stamp and placed the item in new business, and unanimously voted to approve all other items of consent. An approval of the cigarette tax was later reached with a vote of 5-2; Supervisors Sherri Blevins and Todd King voted against the tax.
The Retired Senior and Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Montgomery County was recognized at the Board of Supervisors meeting for their 50th anniversary of service to the region in a video presented during the board’s regular Monday night meeting.
Mandy Hayes serves as the Montgomery County RSVP Coordinator, but first started her work with the organization in 2003 as a Program Assistant. Ava Stilwell is the current RSVP Program Assistant, with 23 years of experience supporting senior services, eight of those years with RSVP.
“RSVP serves as a clearinghouse, to match the needs of the community with the skills and knowledge of our volunteers. Our volunteers serve over 60 non-profit organizations and healthcare facilities in our service area,” Hayes said.
The Board of Supervisors each took a moment to congratulate and show appreciation to the members of the RSVP organization through comments to the RSVP members present during the meeting.
“The RSVP program is just invaluable, and the fact that these volunteers are paying it forward and showing the community what it means to dedicate time and resources and energy to making our community a better place to live,” Meadows said.
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