Resolution signed, district named, planning for the future

by Josh McDonald
Staff Reporter | June 30, 2020 10:25 AM

WALLACE — On Monday morning, the Shoshone Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution officially creating a new ambulance district, one that will replace the Shoshone County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Corporation.

The new district, officially named the Shoshone County Ambulance Service District (SCASD), will fill the void formerly occupied by the aforementioned EMS Corp. as it pertains to handling the county’s EMS programs and contracts, fiscal accountability, as well as the operations and oversight of the district.

“Passing the resolution to create the Shoshone County Ambulance Service District is viewed as a logical and positive step forward,” said BOCC chairman Mike Fitzgerald. “The step shifts the administration, decision making and accountability to a board that is solely dedicated to and focused on our community’s ambulance services. The transition from the county to the Ambulance Services District will require some heavy lifting, involving much work such as transitioning administration, contracts, billings, collections, equipment and overall budgeting.”

Now the BOCC will begin the process of building this district from the ground up, which will include figuring out the targeted amount of public monies that will be needed to annually fund the district, as well as assisting in the creation of a district board of directors.

The BOCC is hoping the residents of Shoshone County will take interest in the new district and volunteer for the open board positions.

“The next step is for the commissioners to appoint an ambulance service district board,” Fitzgerald said. “During the first two weeks of July 2020, Shoshone County is assembling a list of board member candidates. Interested individuals are requested to contact the BOCC for details.”

As far as costs are concerned, the number that has been thrown around the most frequently is roughly $130,000 per year, but an official amount for the SCASD has not been set.

According to Idaho code, a new ambulance district can levy up to 0.02% from the population however, as proposed, the amount to be taxed will be what is necessary to maintain the current level of service.

The $130,000 was nearly the amount that was being levied for a few years ago before the BOCC began scaling back the amount they were annually levying for EMS services, including this year’s budget amount of $86,600, but after extending the Shoshone County EMS Corp.’s services for an extra $10,000 a month for four months, they’ll have dedicated $126,600 toward EMS services for the 2020 fiscal year.

The signed resolution, which was widely supported by the county’s EMS professionals, is the culmination after several months of meetings with local EMS groups, a signed petition from 73 concerned residents, and finally a public hearing, before making their official decision last week.

The district became an apparent need for the Silver Valley after the EMS Corp. submitted a letter to the BOCC announcing its intentions to dissolve at the end of May, but was later extended to September at the behest of the BOCC.

In its current form, the bulk of local ambulance services are carried out through a series of service agreements between Shoshone County, the EMS Corp, Shoshone County Fire District No. 1, Shoshone County Fire District No. 2 and neighboring counties.

Outside the previously discussed responsibilities of the SCASD, level of service, personnel and personnel types, licensures and recruitment will not change under the new district.

For more information or to inquire about the Shoshone County Ambulance Service District call 208-752-3331.