Greene County EMS facing funding shortfall. Again

By WVUA 23 Student News Reporter Caleb Aguayo

Greene County Emergency Medical Services is once more facing a major lack of funding.

Although the EMS serves many towns and surrounding areas, it has a handful of employees making minimal pay, said Eutaw Mayor Latasha Johnson. The organization is at its limit.

The county’s Board of Emergency Medical Services met Wednesday, April 12, over the issue.

“We need more (money) if we can get more,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to understand, they’re serving the whole county. You’ve got Boligee, Forkland, you’ve got Eutaw, you’ve got other areas like West Greene, Tishabee and surrounding areas. We need a larger staff.”

A chunk of EMS funding came from GreeneTrack, which shut down last year after the state determined the electronic bingo facility owed more than $75 million in unpaid taxes.

EMS Board Chair Joe Powell and Johnson said they plan to appeal to the Greene County Commission and other local organizations for an increase in funding.

“We are appealing to all our charities, our elected officials, our cities, our county and also the bingo halls to help fund this program,” said Powell.

Greene County EMS Director Christopher Jones said it’s the only emergency service in Greene County that doesn’t get funds from electronic bingo.

Jones said the EMS instead gets “spontaneous” donations from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, local municipalities and private donors.

“What we actually need are monthly subsidy payments,” Jones said. “Tax revenue is the real answer. Not bingo money, because bingo money may not be here tomorrow or next week. Tax money will.”

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