They are the first to respond when someone’s life is on the line. First responders are working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But there is a price that must be paid to keep these people employed.
“[The] money’s got to come from somewhere and it leaves nobody else to come from than the people,” said Monroe County commissioner Bill Miller.
For nearly two years, the Monroe County Commission have explored other options to pay for the first responders who are always ready at a moment’s notice. With Union Rescue completely defunct and the county out of money, the last resort lied within the people.
“I don’t see where there was any other way for us to collect the money to hold the ambulance within the county,” Miller said. “This is the only sure way that we can keep them housed within our county and still have coverage.”
However, the $100 annual fee assessed to the approximate 5700 residents brought in mixed reactions from some who voiced their opinions at the Union courthouse meeting.
“There’s going to be a private corporation and [the commission will] have absolutely nothing to show for all the money that’s being spent,” said one Monroe county citizen. “Absolutely nothing.”
“Whether they charge me $20 or $500, the point is I’d be dead if they hadn’t come,” said another county resident, who survived a life-threatening heart attack.
At the end of the day, there is a price to pay, especially for help that is always on the way.
“We just need to figure out how to work it out where everyone’s got an ambulance at the least cost we can come up with,” the Monroe County Commission stated.