March 31, 2020

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Out-of-county ambulance service makes presentation
LAWRENCEVILLE - The Lawrence County Ambulance Service apparently has a lot going for it.

For the second month in a row, an ambulance service from outside the county approached the Lawrence County Board at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, looking to worm its way in.

One month after receiving a proposal from Deaconess Illinois EMS in deep southern Illinois to take over the county's ambulance service, visitors from Carle Regional EMS in Richland County were on hand, offering a plan to serve the area of Bridgeport and Sumner.

The group was represented by Carle Richland Hospital CEO Harry Brockus, Director of Aarow Ambulance out of Champaign, Larry Sapp, and Erick Wheeler, an EMS instructor.

"We have an ambulance service in Lawrence County," said Jim Brewer, Lawrence County Board Chairman. "They're doing a great job. Evidently people want to come in and take it over, so they must see something positive that Lawrence County has."

Brockus hinted that his group only wants to co-exist with LCAS, in the western portion of the county.

"We don't want to cause any financial burden on the Lawrence County Ambulance Service," he said.

Terry Lawrence, Director of the Lawrence County Ambulance Service, was also in attendance. He noted that the LCAS and the Richland County service have a "mutual aid" agreement in place. So far in 2020, Lawrence said, LCAS has needed to take advantage of that agreement on only two occasions.

Wheeler talked about a $750,000 paramedic training center, set to open in Olney in June. The center will work with Illinois Eastern Community Colleges to train paramedics to work throughout the area. The 4,000-square foot building will be located within the city limits of Olney.

Brewer told the representatives that a specific plan would have to be presented to the county board for the talks to proceed any further.

Also at Wednesday's meeting, Lawrence County engineer Aaron Mefford was in attendance and requested as much as $500,000 from the Motor Fuel Tax Fund for the county highway maintenance resolution for 2020. Mefford stressed that not nearly that much money is expected to be needed.

Also upon the recommendation of Mefford, the board approved a resolution for the repair of a bridge over Indian Creek on County Road TR 142. The cost of the project is estimated to be $600,000, with another $30,000 for engineering fees. Mefford noted that 80 percent of the money will come from federal funding.

In other business:

• The board reappointed Jeff Kocher to the Russell-Allison Water Authority for a term that ends on Nov. 16, 2022.

• The board reappointed Jess Angle, Mike Mefford and Terry Andrews to the Lawrence County E911 board. Angle's term expires Nov. 30, 2021. The terms for Mefford and Angle run through Nov. 30, 2022.

• The board gave its approval to continued recognition of the Illinois South Tourism Bureau.

• The board appointed the firm of Hulbert & Phipps to conduct the annual Lawrence County audit.

• Upon the advice of County Clerk Will Gibson, the board passed a resolution to clear and transfer a title on a delinquent tax property in Bridgeport Township. According to Gibson, the property was purchased at auction for $813.

• The next meeting of the Lawrence County Board is scheduled for 4 p.m., March 18.


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