Windsor ambulance working to pay debts

By Nicole Cooke - [email protected]

By Nicole Cooke

[email protected]

The Windsor Ambulance District Board of Directors is continuing to chip away at the large amount of debt it still owes.

The board met Thursday night for its monthly meeting, with the main topic of discussion focusing on money as they discussed a rough outline of the 2016 budget. The City of Windsor has been without an official ambulance service since June 1, when WAD stopped its service due to lack of board members, funds and employees.

Since then, citizens have been served by the nearest available ambulance entity. A completely new board was appointed in mid-June and the seven members have been working to figure out how to serve the Windsor citizens.

“We’re continuing to chip away, we’re still investigating options of getting a service in town,” Chairman Steve Galloway told the Democrat after the meeting. “We’re trying to figure out a way we can pay this debt — that’s a little overwhelming.”

That debt includes about $170,000 to the IRS and $35,000 to the State of Missouri, along payments on the district’s one ambulance, almost $40,000 in payroll — the few remaining employees were not being paid toward the end of their service — and past-due utility bills, even though the only utility still in use is electric. Galloway said they’re close to being current on utility bills, and hoped to be done with those payments by next month.

Monthly payments of $500 are being paid to the IRS, and the board discussed implementing a monthly payment plan for the state as well, to be included in the 2016 budget that will be voted on at the November meeting.

The district is also continuing to pay insurance costs to cover the building and its contents and the ambulance. Galloway met with coverage provider Mike Keith Insurance to eliminate some unneeded coverage to save a little money, such as medical malpractice and sexual harassment coverage, both which are not needed since the district doesn’t have any employees.

Mike Barkofske, the most recent former Director of Operations for WAD, who has been in attendance at most WAD meetings to assist the board with any questions, asked if payroll would be included in the 2016 budget. Galloway replied that so far it is not included, but that they may discuss it during the closed session Thursday night.

WAD is working with ProClaims to get payments on ambulance runs that were never billed over the last year or so, and Galloway told the Democrat those payments are “dribbling” in. Some payments will have to be written off completely due to the citizen being deceased.

The board also had a rather large stack of unpaid bills from 2013 and 2014, which are too old for Medicare and Medicaid payments, and may be too old for patients’ insurance companies to pay for. The board voted to send the old unpaid patient bills to a collection agency to at least try to see what they could collect, if anything.

The district still collects taxes from the four counties it operates in — Benton, Henry, Pettis and Johnson — which can help with the large amount of debt. The board had not been notified of exactly how much it would be receiving, so it has not been specifically allocated yet.

While there aren’t any employees and the district isn’t making any runs, the board is still working to somewhat maintain the ambulance and building. The ambulance will be taken today to Gregg Smith Ford for an inspection, which the dealership is donating to the district.

Board members will be working to clean out the building of important documents to be saved and other items that can be thrown away from 8:30 a.m. to noon Friday, Oct. 30. The board asked any former employees who may have personal items left in the building to come during that time to pick them up.

The problems stem from former administration, and an audience member accompanying Barkofske asked “if anybody had looked into them yet.”

“Yes,” Galloway replied simply.

“That’s good,” she said.

“Yeah, because the whole thing’s kind of sickening,” Barkofske said.

Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.

Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.

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