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SEOEMS fight could still be negotiated

The legal battles over who owes what in regards to the now-disbanded Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Services appears to be really heating up and doesn’t look to have an end in sight.

The Lawrence County Commissioners have long contended that our taxpayers were subsidizing the ambulance service and are now owed more than $300,000 by the other two principal parties, Athens and Jackson counties.

Data from state audit reports certainly seem to support the commission’s claims and our elected representatives have an obligation to do everything in their power to recoup this money for Lawrence County taxpayers.

Of course, Athens County leaders do not see it the same way and have essentially filed a lawsuit against the commissioners and the Lawrence County Auditor’s Office seeking an unspecified amount of money that Athens officials feel is owed to their county.

This is the type of dispute that can drag on for months or years and cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Surely elected officials on both sides can sit down at the table — armed with accountants and financial reports — and get to the bottom of who owes what.

There is no need for an ugly and expensive battle. Understandably, both sides want to fight for their constituents, but it is not too late to do so logically and reasonably.