OZARK, Ala. (WDHN) — Dale County received $9.3 million dollars apart from the American Rescue Plan Act — $1.6 being dedicated to emergency medical services in the county that went over and beyond during the height of the pandemic.
“I appreciate the Dale County commission for alloting the 1.6 million to help, but I just wish they did it as fair as they did with the tax money,” said South Dale EMS Chairman Billy Pruett.
According to the current EMS funding map which is based on the square miles each EMS department covers, the county is giving Echo $1.1 million dollars — the highest amount, with Ariton following with over $300,000.
South Dale and Ozark EMS cover the least amount of square miles since miles inside the police jurisdiction don’t count — therefore, they received the least amount of money, but are doing most of the work.
South Dale has made 1,355 runs over the last year and Ozark made over 4,000 — that’s 55 percent of the calls in Dale County.
“If you take Ozark EMS out of business today we’ll take the other EMS services with us they can’t survive without the backup of Ozark,” Mayor Mark Blankenship said.
“You can’t justify doing it the way they are doing it and nobody with common sense would agree with them,” Pruett said.
Mayor Blankenship and Pruett say the county hired a firm in Montgomery to help them distribute funds and was told this is the required way to distribute — but city and town officials have been told otherwise.
“They have put the ball back in their court, it’s up to the county to make the decision,” Pruett added.
That is why they are urging the county to take another look at the plan.
“Spend the money in a way that will benefit all of Dale County,” Mayor Blankenship added.
The commission was supposed to take action on the issue at Tuesday’s meeting, but no further action was taken.