Archived Story

Boggs offers proposal to resolve SEOEMS

Published 9:25am Friday, July 18, 2014

Wrapping up the dissolution of Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services could be closer for Lawrence County, if a proposal by Commission President Les Boggs is accepted.

Citing a memo from Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mack Anderson, Boggs said there is currently $95,145.08 in assets of the one-time tri-county EMS that was disbanded in 2010. The EMS has operated for decades in a partnership between Lawrence, Athens and Jackson counties. In 2010, Athens and Jackson voted to pull out forcing Lawrence to create their own EMS.

In May of 2011, State Auditor Dave Yost released an audit that found SEOEMS owed Lawrence County a refund of $301,396. The audit targeted years 2008, 2009 and 2010, where it was determined that Athens for that period had operated in the red with a total deficit of $409, 118. Jackson had deficits of $304,482 for 2008 and 2010. However in 2009 Jackson had a surplus of $68,175. That translated to Athens and Jackson owing SEOEMS $645,425 as well as the refund to Lawrence County.

According to Anderson’s memo there are $239,503.08 in outstanding debts owed by SEOEMS. According to Boggs between $180,000 to $190,000 of those debts are owed by Lawrence County.

They include the majority of $35,006.07 owed to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and a portion of the $118,218.13 owed to the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

“If we could work something out and Lawrence County not have to pay those bills,” Boggs said at Thursday’s regular commission meeting. “We can call folks and get them to settle for a little bit less. What is the worse they can say: No.”

If those bills could be settled for less, it would balance out the money the state audit said is owed to the county, he said.

Boggs wants to discuss his proposal with County Auditor Jason Stephens to see if he would “be willing to do that,” the commission president said. “If only we can recoup enough money.”

Stephens said he would follow the instructions of the commission.

“Until I hear from Les on the details I can’t say I am for or against his proposal and I look forward to talking with him,” Stephens said. “Whatever the solution we don’t need to put any more money in.

Commissioner Bill Pratt disagrees with the proposal.

“They have collected revenue since the dissolution,” Pratt said. “Forty percent belongs to Lawrence County. There are no expenses. I feel we don’t owe them anything until a judge tells Lawrence County they will have to pay money to settle that debt.”

In other action the commission:

• Recognized Patriot EMS as a supportive EMS to the county;

• Received the Pine Creek Dam report that states that large pieces of rock riprap have been placed in a main pipe and must be removed as soon as possible;

• Approved an agreement with E.L. Robinson for engineering services for the Chesapeake Streetscape Improvement 2014 Project;

• Received the weekly dog warden report where seven dogs were destroyed; three were adopted or went to rescue and one was redeemed by its owner.

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