EMS Authority approves 2012-13 budget
Budget includes raises for union employees, EMT supervisor and board members
WEST BRANCH — The Ogemaw County EMS Authority voted unanimously to adopt its 2012-13 fiscal year budget at its regular meeting Sept. 20.
The projected revenue is $2,296,617 with projected expenses at $2,247,103.
Projected expenses this year are up $24,525.12. That increase is partially due to a 2-percent wage increase for union employees per their union contract, and an increase in health insurance costs for employees.
According to the EMS budget, health insurance is expected to cost $225,795 next year. The authority originally budgeted $175,719.29 for the current year for health insurance, however, as of Sept. 20 had already spent more than $190,000.
“Health insurance cost is a substantial increase which we will be looking into different options to reduce,” said EMS Director Shirley Buck.
Buck said none of the changes in cost would jeopardize services in any way.
Another increase in expenses this year will be the loan payment on the new EMS building, which is $78,500. That amount will be paid for the next seven years.
Buck reported at the meeting that the authority has closed on the property, which is Lot 14 in the city’s west industrial park. A request for bids on the project has been published, with a deadline of Oct. 5 at 3 p.m.
Original plans were to have the building completed this year. However, EMS Authority Chairman Chad Lucas said that depends on the weather.
“I’m hoping we can get the footings and everything in and they can get the shell up,” Lucas said following the meeting. “If they can get the shell up, they can work on it through the winter.”
“You can do the cement work in the inclement weather,” Vice Chairman Lloyd Saunders added. “It’s just a little bit more expensive.”
In other business, the authority also voted unanimously to give the EMT supervisor, which is Buck, a 2-percent raise to go along with the union employees’ raise.
It also voted 3-2 to increase the per diem paid to board members to $50 per meeting from the current $40 per meeting, with a 2-percent increase each year to follow.
Board members Dave Reasner and Scott Colclasure cast the dissenting votes.
Saunders, who made the motion, said the board had to look at fairness to future board members in its decision.
“In looking at future boards, you’ve got people coming on here, this is a $2.5 million budget,” Saunder said. “And with all the 30-some people (in the authority) and all the issues we have to contend with. If you look at, for future board members too, to be fair to them as they come on here. It’s a lot of responsibility. I know I spend a lot of extra time that we don’t get compensated for. And depending on the circumstance, it could be a lot of extra time.”
Lucas said the decision would need to be made at some time to raise the per diem.
“My concern is that if we don’t do it at some point, then you’re going to have to take a great big step in the future to get it up there,” he said. “A $10 raise a month, basically, is what we’re getting.”
“I just don’t think it’s a good time to do it,” Reasner said before the vote.
“This board has a lot of responsibility,” Saunders added. “It really does.”
The raise will go into effect as part of the 2012-13 fiscal year budget, which starts Oct. 1.