Ambulances a hot issue at meeting

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Quite a few topics were discussed at McKenzie’s town council meeting Monday night.

One such issue that was raised near the end of the meeting was which ambulance service can facilitate the citizens of the town.

Much of the discussion was centered around the proximity of where an ambulance comes from to respond to emergencies, where the call comes from requesting an ambulance and whether or not an ambulance service serves out of Georgiana.

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McKenzie Mayor Lester Odom Jr. said through discussions, the emergency ambulance service out of Evergreen no longer serves Butler County.

“There has been some discussion about setting up some other ambulance service,” Odom said. “I don’t know the name for it. I don’t know the details and anything else, it’s just second and third-hand information.”

Odom said an ambulance service set up in Georgiana would help.

During the lengthy discussion, council woman Shawnee Pierce said she was requested to attend Georgiana’s city council meeting last night to provide a voice on the matter.

“I think they just heard our situation where we waited 45 minutes to an hour before an ambulance got to somebody, for which we could’ve driven hm and gotten to the hospital in seven or eight minutes,” Pierce said.

According to Pierce, the town has been dealing with this ambulance issue for around two months, when service from Georgiana was pulled.

This issue has been particularly important for Pierce, whose father has medical issues and a mother who doesn’t drive.

Pierce’s parents have a home in McKenzie and Florida.

“She’s scared when something happens, she can’t get medical attention for him,” Pierce said about her parents.

A big problem for the town is that it doesn’t have a medical facility. The closest facility is in Georgiana.

In other business, the council:

• held a discussion on two disturbances the town office experienced since the council last met;

• held a discussion on the town’s fire department hosting the safety meeting. “I just wanted to thank the fire department for allowing us to use their facilities,” Odom said. “I also want to thank all who came.” Odom thanked all who contributed to the meeting;

• held a discussion on the bank loan the council approved last month to take out of the bank for the new well;

• held a discussion on an employee matter;

• approved closing the main street downtown for the McKenzie Fest, which will be held the second Saturday of May;

• held a discussion on moving the Christmas parade to Friday night from Saturday morning to not bunt up against the parades in Greenville and Luverne;

• held a discussion a matter with the final notices sent out for water bills. Customers aren’t allowed to air their grievances with members of the water authority or council about their bills, Odom said. Odom said that they needed to pay their bill in full;

• held a discussion on the audit that will be mailed to the council in a matter of days;

• approved the purchase of no trucks signs to deter trucks from driving on Walsh Street, near the school;

• held a discussion on patching town roads that need upkeep;

• heard from town secretary Tina Powell that the workman’s comp insurance is down to $7,457;

• approved the town to enter into talks with the parks and recreation department about the replacement of the baseball field fence; and,

• approved the application for a police grant for equipment needed.

The next McKenzie town council meeting is slated for Mon., Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at town hall.