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KCC set to discuss EMS’ future

(Online only story)

Posted: February 6, 2015 2:17 p.m.
Updated: February 9, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Funding for and the delivery of emergency management services (EMS) is back on the agenda for Tuesday night’s Kershaw County Council meeting. Council originally planned to discuss the issue during its Jan. 27, but tabled the matter until Tuesday night.

At issue is who should be responsible for EMS. KershawHealth has provided the service for many years, but negotiations are underway for the hospital to be sold to Capella Healthcare, a for-profit Franklin, Tenn., company. KershawHealth is currently considered a public non-profit in that its board of trustees is appointed by county council.

In most South Carolina counties, EMS is operated and funded by the county itself, a situation Capella representatives reportedly would like to see here. Council indicated previously it will not let Kershaw County be without ambulance service, but an immediate concern is how to cover the costs.

County Attorney Ken DuBose sent a letter to KershawHealth attorney David Summer on Jan. 16 saying the county would need $3 million to operate EMS until January 2017 when the county would receive funding through taxes or “fee-in-lieu-of-taxes” agreements.

The KershawHealth Board of Trustees will also take up the matter during its meeting tonight (see “KershawHealth board to continue Capella, EMS discussions”).

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is a public hearing on and third reading of an ordinance to amend and restate the county’s road maintenance fee, collected annually as part of the taxes and fees paid by vehicle owners. County Administrator Vic Carpenter previously said an ordinance already exists, but the new one would clarify the language and provide for penalties for those who do not pay the fee. The ordinance unanimously passed first and second readings and now needs final approval to be put into effect.

Council will also consider first reading of an ordinance authorizing a “fee-in-lieu-of-tax” agreement between the county and E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company.

Tuesday’ meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Kershaw County Government Center, 515 Walnut St., Camden, and is open to the public.

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