LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted July 29, 2020
It is not often that a problem arises which impacts the health and well being of a sector of citizens so profoundly. Unfortunately, such an issue came forward approximately a year ago concerning the possible loss of ambulance service for the Farmer City Fire Protection District.
When the issue was presented to the County, all involved stood up and took notice. It was understood by everyone that failure to correct this loss of service was not an option, if at all possible.
After researching many different answers to solve this problem, and finding out this hill was going to be a tough one to climb, a dedicated and driven group of individuals rose to the occasion! Without a sense of cooperation, optimistic attitude, and a desire to rectify a bad situation, the outcome could have been catastrophic.
2,000 plus residents would have been left without adequate ambulance service. It would have meant longer response times, or possible diminished services, and a realistic chance that a life could be lost.
Because of this group's efforts, the citizens within the Farmer City Fire Protection District have ambulance service for the next 8 years and won't reach the maximum levy during the term of this agreement. It is possible that the levy could even go down. Additionally, the levy for service within the existing area will not change. This means no increase in levies for any DeWitt County citizen!
DeWitt County is now unified and all citizens are under the same ambulance service.
FCFPD will now have a new Advanced Life Support ambulance stationed in Farmer City 24/7 manned with 6 newly hired licensed personnel consisting of Paramedics and EMT's. Response time within the district is anticipated to be 4-6 minutes. Also, the response time to the towns of DeWitt and Weldon will be improved, as responses for emergencies could be dispatched out of Farmer City.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who worked so relentlessly to assure this loss of service was prevented and the residents were protected:
The Counties Public Safety Committee for their patience while working through the process and input in trying to find solutions.
County Board Chairman David Newberg, Vice-Chairman Camille Redman, and County Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister for their help in negotiations with Paramedic Services Inc. to arrive at an agreement that was much better than we expected.
To Christy Prusser for stepping up as a member of the ad hoc committee.
States Attorney Dan Markwell as he kept us on stable legal ground and assured the language in our agreement and addendum covered all of the legalities needed to ensure they were on a solid base.
The Trustees for FCFPD for working in concert with the County, Mike Hammer, Kurt Wells, and Dale Whisman.
Moe Winstead and his part acting as a liaison with the Committee.
Dan Warren, Farmer City Fire Chief for his valuable insight.
FCFPD Attorney, Jim Sinclair who worked so well with the States Attorneys office in getting the
Inter-Governmental Agreement written so both entities were protected.
Last but not least, Larry Robbins and Mike Hansen with PSI. Without their willingness to negotiate and commitment to help, none of this would have come to fruition, and we all would have been in a much darker place! They were the key in resolving such a critical care problem.
Thanks to all, you are greatly appreciated!
Lance M. Reece
DeWitt County Board Dist "A"
Chairman, Public Safety Committee