How Will Benton County Pay for EMS?

BENTON COUNTY, AR--An 85 dollar annual fee failed to pass on February 11. Now the Benton County Finance Committee is suggesting some department cuts and opinions on the matter are clashing.

Nalley said, "Do we need ambulance service for the outlying areas? Absolutely, but we need roads too."

The Benton County Finance Committee is suggesting a 450,000-dollar cut from the road department to fund rural ambulance service.

"That's the only place they have money to take from... it's just that simple," Judge Bob Clinard said.

However, this idea is not exactly what he had in mind. "I'd have preferred they take it out of reserves but that's not what they chose to recommend," Clinard said.

With less money for asphalt, the Benton County Road Department might have to start chipping away at its paving plan for this year.

"It's not going to be real significant, but it will be substantial," Nalley said.

Originally planning to pave about 35 miles of roads in Benton County, road department director,Terry Nalley, is expecting to change the game plan. If the Quorum Court decides to follow through with the cuts Nalley said, "it will probably reduce maybe 10 miles, but I just don't know right now.

But the money taken from the road department is only enough to cover part of the million dollar ems cost.

"So they still need to find about 250,000 dollars more to fund the rest of 2014," Clinard said.

Judge Clinard is hoping the quorum court decides to forgo more cuts and reach into the county's 11-million dollar bank account for the rest.

"I think this is a prime example of an emergency situation life or death, emergency care, that we can fund out of reserves until the end of this year and decide how from then on out," Clinard said.

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