As the new year approaches, the Pettis County Ambulance District Board of Directors continued its discussion of the 2016 budget during Tuesday’s meeting.
The final budget will be approved at a later meeting, but Administrator Mike Gardner went over the major items and changes with the board. “It’s a short list of things, not a ton of money compared to what we spent last year,” he said.
It’s hard to compare the 2015 budget to the proposed 2016 budget, as PCAD continues to grow in its first few years of existence and the number of calls continues to increase. A six-person crew and ambulance were added in 2015 and the education building was completed, along with the district purchasing property on 16th Street to be used as a future headquarters location, costing $664,801.83, which has been paid off as of last week.
Proposed capital expenses for 2016 include:
• Construction of PCAD Station 2 at state Route TT and U.S. Highway 50 in Smithton for $948,710.27. The lot was purchased in 2015 and the land cost of $160,000 was included in the 2015 budget.
Dirt work has been completed at the site, with a groundbreaking set for early January on the structure itself. The board has decided to obtain a construction loan with a 24-month term for the project. Gardner said the 2016 budget has a target of paying off half the project, although he hopes they can pay off more than half during the next year.
While PCAD has about $1.8 million in reserves, Gardner and board President Greg Nehring said using a loan would protect the district’s cash flow for future needs.
• Purchase a new ventilator package to equip five ambulance units for $52,464.40. This particular item has been approved individually at a previous meeting.
• Purchase a utility vehicle for training, supplies and other travel needs, for an estimated cost of $30,000, as the item would need to go through the bid process.
• Purchase Image Trend Service Bridge reporting management software for $23,200. PCAD currently uses State Bridge reporting software, but both Gardner and Medical Director Dr. David Gustafson recommend the district purchases new software, as they have experienced difficulties and outages with the state program.
• Purchase Lucas automated CPR device for seven ambulances, total cost of $94,661.77.
“My staff, one thing they kind of pushed me to really seriously consider is the Lucas automated CPR device for all the ambulances,” Gardner told the board. “… The one thing about the Lucas CPR device is it never gets tired. If for instance we have a cardiac arrest en route to the University of Missouri, our guys can put this device on (the patient) and the paramedics’ hands would be free from having to do CPR. The quality of CPR is fabulous. This thing measures the depth of the chest and goes exactly where it needs to go. These things save lives every day.”
• Purchase safety equipment for all personnel, including a bunker coat and extrication gloves for each employee plus three helmets in each ambulance, for approximately $36,308.
“To me, our guys’ safety should be our No. 1 concern. The fire chief from Pettis County Fire Department asked me if I minded if they went ahead and put an extra bunker jacket and helmet on their fire trucks for our guys (for use on vehicle extrications),” Gardner said. “That was pretty commendable for them, but I think that’s something we should give our people. That they’re already ready before anyone else gets there. … I think it’s something that should be a priority for these guys. When they start cutting the top off a car, there’s a lot of glass that flies around.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.