Dubois to keep full-time ambulance for the next year; Commission pushes for more sustainability in EMS

(Lander, Wyo.) – The Fremont County Commission voted 3-2 this morning to supplement the Ambulance budget just enough to give the Dubois community a full-time ambulance service.

The effort, led by Commissioner Larry Allen, provided an additional $165,000 to the ambulance department for the service to Dubois. Commission Vice Chair Keja Whiteman and Commissioner Travis Becker were the no votes.

“It could be a case of life and death, more often than not,” Allen said, making his case. “I just think it’s the right thing to do.”

Chairman Doug Thompson this morning said that the Ambulance department will need to work heavily toward sustainability in the next year, noting he likely wouldn’t support a general fund supplementation in 2015.

Earlier this year, Ambulance Director Joe Zillmer was told by the commission to balance his budget so that it required no general fund moneys. He did so, saying the only places to cut were service to Dubois and training equipment. The plan was to provide for a single Advanced Life Support employee on at a time, and if an ambulance was needed it would have to come from Riverton or Lander.

Members of the Dubois community raised concern about the drop in service, and several attended last night’s public budget hearing to thank the commission for considering retaining a full-time ambulance to their community.

Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman thanked the three who were supportive and said without the ambulance many lives would be in danger. Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer College Executive Director Laurie Goodman also thanked the commission on Monday evening.

Zillmer told the commission that he’ll be working hard toward sustainability in the coming months. A public meeting to discuss the matter will likely be scheduled for early October.