Benton County EMS Solution Might Not go to Voters

BENTON COUNTY, AR-- The Benton County Quorum Court met this week to decide on an ordinance for folks to vote on, but at the end of the meeting, no progress was made. Now, the EMS saga sits at a standstill.

Tim Bertschy has lived in Pea Ridge for fifteen years. He was glad to see paramedics at his door a few years back.

"It's just you gotta have it. I mean there is no way around it. I fell down on my back and couldn't get off of the floor and I had to have them come get me. Dial that 9-1-1, it is nice to have somebody here pretty quick."

Now Tim is willing to pay. He says he would vote yes for an annual 40-dollar EMS fee. It's one of two ways to fund ambulance service for rural Benton County. The other is a county-wide tax, equaling two tenths of a mil. But at this rate, voters may never get the chance to decide.

Kevin harrison, Justice of the Peace, District 5 said, "We are pretty much nowhere."

Harrison said, the Quorum Court needs to choose one ordinance to put on the November ballot. But as election day gets closer, they still cannot come to a compromise. "Half of us voted for the resolution to put the millage on and half of us voted for the ordinance to put the fee on. If we can't do this, then why do we expect the citizens of Benton County to vote and make a decision on this."

Meanwhile, folks like Tim left worrying where help will come from when it's needed.

Tim said, "We have cattle on about on three or four farms and the hay and equipment and all that stuff, so if a cow runs over you, it would be nice to have somebody come and get you."

Harrison says state law requires a resolution from the Quorum Court before they put a measure on the ballot.

If they don't come to an agreement, both ordinances are dead and that means next years budget will see some cuts.

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