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Sulphur Springs might get EMS station

Residents of the Sulphur Springs community could soon benefit from the construction of an EMS station at 1626 Highway 81N.
The Washington County Budget Committee voted to recommend $209,677 be provided for the project during its Nov. 16 meeting. The issue was expected to be taken up at the Nov. 28 meeting of the full Washington County Commission.
EMS Officer Allen Taylor said the proposed new rescue zone would cover 36 miles and could respond to an average of 64 calls during a three-month period. Current response times to this area of up to 15 minutes are the worst in the county. The addition of a station could reduce that time to three minutes.
Almost an acre of property for the proposed Sulphur Springs station was donated by Henry Walker.
The low bid for the construction of the building is $48,000. However, the bids received for the interior finish of the EMS station were higher than anticipated and will be rejected, according to Purchasing Director Willie Shrewsbury.
If the project moves forward, Washington County will handle the subcontracting and will bid out the work on an individual basis. The budgeted cost is $60,000. This method was also used in the construction of the Fall Branch EMS Station, and savings of up to 25 percent could be expected.
Cost to equip the station with an EMS truck, technical rescue equipment and a base station radio would cost $131,677, with Washington County/Johnson City EMS contributing $30,000 toward the total.
In addition, Taylor said the WC/JC EMS will absorb the approximate $36,000 operating cost for 2012. If approved, the station could be open by June 30.
The cost of a generator, which could run almost $7,000, will be raised through contributions. Commissioner Mike Ford said the community has spoken up regarding its support of the project. “We’re already planning two fundraisers to go toward the cost,” he said.
Commissioner Mark Larkey moved to recommend the $209,677 be provided from the sale proceeds of the Downtown Centre.
Concern was expressed by Commissioner Mitch Meredith about the county’s “cherry picking” from the proceeds for different projects without first prioritizing a list of capital expenditures.
“We may run out of money,” he said.
Commissioner Joe Grandy said this is a need the county should obligate to even if the Downtown Centre sale never closes. “We need to make the appropriation now,” he said.
Larkey agreed to amend his motion, which passed on unanimous vote.