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SEOEMS returns #036;100,000

Thursday, Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services Executive Director Eric Kuehne brought back more $100,000 in surplus money to the Lawrence County Commission.

Kuehne said he had finalized the books for 2002, and the SEOEMS services in Lawrence County came in $182,655.28 under budget.

Kuehne said there were two main reasons why SEOEMS was able to save money: the accounts receivable department had collected 16 percent - approximately $165,000 - more than anticipated, and an adjustment was made to the workers' compensation rate. Kuehne also said the five SEOEMS stations in Lawrence County were also handling slightly more runs than the year before. Lawrence Countians asked for an ambulance nearly 400 times last year.

Kuehne asked to be able to keep just more than $82,000 to pay for paving work at the South Point station, a new ambulance, and repairs to an older one. The new ambulance will cost $75,000. It will be in addition to the one new vehicle SEOEMS buys every year for use in the county. These two vehicles will replace two that have an average of 100,000 miles on them.

"I wish this would happen every day," Commissioner Jason Stephens said of the $100,000.

Commission President George Patterson said the surplus money will come in handy when trying to make ends meet and cover all the needs the county has. One of his concerns is the sheriff's office finances: the sheriff's office had previously received a COPS grant, which paid for five road deputies. With the grant ending, the county now must find ways to keep the deputies.

"Having that unexpected $100,000 makes me feel better about dealing with those issues," Patterson said.

Also Thursday, Waterloo-Mt. Vernon Road resident Scott Dillon asked the commission to do something about the condition of his road. Dillon said the road was in such a serious state of disrepair that people's vehicles are being damaged by driving on it. He had a mile-by-mile status report on what the road needed and where the most damage had occurred. In some places, the creek is higher than the road, and when it rains, the roadway is flooded. In other areas, drivers must dodge large potholes. In some areas the culverts are stopped up.

"What I'm asking is for you to take your own personal vehicle on the road," Dillon said. "Once you do it, you won't ever take your car out there again. It's all from the ice damage. The speed limit is 35 but you can't drive 35 on it; it's impossible."

The commission explained that road complaints must be forwarded to the county engineer's office, as that entity handles road repairs.