Weston miffed over EMS contract
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 11:26
WESTON - For the second consecutive year, members of Weston Village Council are frustrated by their counterparts in Milton Center.
Weston provides both fire and EMS service for several entities in the area; however, again this year Milton Center is dragging their feet on signing their EMS contract.
Last year, Milton Center offered an alternative contract, which Weston declined stating they wanted to keep all the contracts uniform to be fair for the other communities they serve. Weston EMS also serves Liberty, Milton and Weston townships as well as the village of Custar. Weston held fast, attended a Milton Center meeting and the Milton Center contract was eventually signed in June.
Though the payment on the contract is not due until late April, the contracts were scheduled to be signed by Dec. 31, 2013. With the 30-day grace period passed, officially, "as of right now they do not have an EMS service contract for services," said Weston's Mayor Jason Worthen during Monday night's council meeting.
Worthen said that EMS Chief Kathy Heyman has indicated she and the staff will still provide services to the citizens of the village, yet they are concerned at the reasons for Milton Center to again be late in submitting their contract.
To date, they have had no official response on the 2014 agreement. "We have done what we can," Worthen said.
The council of Milton Center had some questions last year, which were addressed. In addition Weston set up a meeting with Prompt Electronic Claim Filing, which handles the medical billing of the EMS runs. According to Worthen, nobody from Milton Center attended that meeting.
Most of the concern centers around not just Milton Center, but also the other entities served by the Weston EMS.
Council President Shad Kendall stated, "When we all work together, it works great."
"Our obligation ends 30 days after the deadline for the contract to be signed. We want to get this resolved," the mayor noted. "The contract guarantees the service and we don't want to be unfair to the other communities."
It was reiterated several times about being fair to all people they serve.
Other council members shared the sentiment, and Councilman Jeff Helberg said of the citizens in Milton Center, "They are sill part of our community and of course, we want to serve them, but at some point we may have to review our obligations."
Weston provides two contract options so the communities can choose how they wish to structure their contract. One is a flat fee, while the other is a lesser amount but requires the village or township to pay for all unpaid runs.
The mayor will be sending a certified letter this week, reminding the other village about the lack of a current contract, seeking a response, and hopefully receiving a signed contract.
With the expected snow forecasted for this week, Chris Douglas, the village administrator, and the mayor noted they now have cameras to document when it becomes necessary to take action to clear the snow from a citizen's walks.
"We're going to give people plenty of time," Douglas said, noting that the village ordinance states walks must be cleared within 24 hours of the end of snowfall. However, he added, they never rush that and usually provide a minimum of 36 hours or more.
Worthen added, "We will accommodate and do what we can. We're going to take extra steps to make sure everything is right."
In other action, the council:
• Set the next finance committee meeting to be April 7 at 6 p.m., changing to a bimonthly schedule.
• Set the next business meeting for March 13 at 6 p.m.
• Welcomed back village solicitor Thomas Bamburowski, who missed meetings due to an automobile accident and other health issues.