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SEOEMS issue remains as commissioners’ top agenda

By next week Lawrence County Commissioners are hoping to be able to offer options for countywide ambulance service should the current situation with the Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services still exist.

A week ago Athens County Commissioners stated it was going to pull out of SEOEMS because they believe they can run the service more economically themselves. This past Tuesday Jackson followed suit.

“I think they are reacting to what the Athens County Commissioners have done,” Commissioner Jason Stephens said Thursday at the commission’s regular meeting. “Hopefully next week at our meeting, we should have more information on what Lawrence County’s options will be.”

For some time financial mismanagement has plagued SEOEMS with the three counties advancing the district a total of $385,000 to help it pay its bills. However, significant changes in billing and other managerial procedures have been instituted with the goal of bringing stability to SEOEMS.

On Sept. 14, a financial consultant is expected to report on a recent analysis of the current economic climate of the district.

“Med-Flight, a Columbus company, took a look at the finances to report to the SEOEMS board on recommendations, which will give us some insight to see the reality of the finances,” according to Stephens, who is also on the SEOEMS board.

In a letter announcing its decision to leave SEOEMS at the first of the year, Jackson commissioners did say that if SEOEMS were able to continue, “Jackson would reconsider and possibly remain in the district.”

Also during the meeting the commissioners approved and signed the agreement with Local 3319 that will cover employees of the Lawrence County Job and Family Services starting Oct. 22. It will be in effect for the next two years.

For the past few weeks the commissioners have met in executive sessions with Gene Myers, director of job and family services, concerning the contract.

Revisions include increasing employees’ health insurance deductible from $500 to $1,000 and requiring those hired after the ratification of the contract to be responsible for 10 percent of their medical insurance premiums.

“This does not include any employees who are recalled due to previous layoff,” the contract states.

In other business the commissioner:

Received the weekly dog warden reports where 29 dogs were destroyed; 2 sold and 2 redeemed.

Announced that today will be the last day for public comments on the temporary bridge planned over Storms Creek until the Lake Vesuvius County Road 29 bridge is constructed. Comments can be made by calling (740) 534-6532 or to comments-eastern-wayne-ironton@fs.fed.us.

Sent a request to the Ohio Department of Transportation that State Route 373 that is linked to State Route 93 be named in honor of Lawrence County native Lt. Col. Scott Evans, retired. Evans is a career military man whose tours of duty have included Iraq. That request came from a motion by Commissioner Les Boggs.

Approved signing the certificate of completion for the Burlington Storm Sewer Improvements Project that costs $149,279 handled by Boone Coleman Construction Inc.

Approved a contract with Servepro for cleaning and water extraction at the juvenile center for $15,486.41. The fee will be paid from an insurance claim.