By Dewey Terrill
Geary County Commissioners have approved a motion asking Junction City to rescind their Dec. 5th deadline to consider stopping EMS service in the rural part of the county if the county does not make a payment for back EMS service. The city originally issued a demand for $802,556 but since that demand was issued the county has paid the city approximately $447 654.64.
County Commissioner Trish Giordano said that governing body is willing to compromise and negotiate. "All we're asking is detailed account of where our money is going." She moved for the city rescind the Dec. 5th deadline of stopping EMS service "or that's all the money that they will get." Giordano called for all future meetings on the subject to be held in open public session.
Commissioner Keith Ascher said when city and county commissioners left a joint meeting on Monday they were in agreement negotiations would continue but he observed that can't done if the Dec. 5th "deadline is hanging out there." Ascher added if the city can prove the county wrong on some things that's fine but the county needs to see it.
Commissioner Alex Tyson noted that service is bigger than what is said in the agreement ( that dates back to 1967 ). "If it shows that we have to pay more to provide that service to our community so be it once we get to that point I believe. " Tyson added that only occurs if you have those negotiations.
Elected officials confirmed that the EMS service is top notch.
Giordano added that a letter needs to be sent to the city asking that the Dec. 5th deadline be rescinded this week. She also confirmed that while it's something that they don't want to do the county has talked with another EMS provider. "Don't want to be without EMS."
Junction City Attorney Britain Stites attended the special county commission meeting at the Geary County Office Building on Wednesday, and noted that he would relay the information to the city manager and city commission but couldn't guarantee there would be action terms of a special city commission meeting. That would be up to the city commission.
Janet Young, Grandview Plaza City Clerk, was present to represent the citizens of that community and criticized the county for not providing notice to that city about the special meeting. " I'm very disappointed in my county commissioners for not notifying that we were looking at my citizens as not being able to have life saving services. We have the right to be at the table, we have the right to come to these meetings, we have the right to be notified so we can go to Junction City and express our concern, and then you guys want to give them an ultimatum." Young also added, "You all are messing with people's lives, plain and simple."
Young added that she would call the Junction City Commissioners about talking with the county commission because she also feels that there needs to be some negotiations. At the conclusion of the meeting she was added to the county and city email lists for future meeting notifications.