EMS Board approves budget before crucial EDS meeting


GONZALES — The Gonzales Emergency Management Services (EMS) Board approved a proposed 2018-2019 budget in excess of 2.75 million dollars on Tuesday night in a special budgetary meeting.

The EMS board is under an imposed mandate by the Gonzales EDS (taxing district) to come up with a budget that shows EMS is sustainable and can be profitable without substantial taxpayer subsidy. The Gonzales EDS board has been critical in recent months of the EMS operation, citing faulty management and oversight of EMS operations. At its June meeting, the EDS board warned the EMS board that if they did not come up with a sound and sustainable operating budget, EDS would no longer help fund EMS requests for cash advances and could refuse funding based on bad management and oversight.

On Tuesday, the main topic of discussion was what items should be in capital improvements in the proposed 2018-2019 budget. A new ambulance, four new stretchers, an economical smaller transport ambulance, and money to help fund retirement benefits for EMS employees was added to the budget.

The proposed budget is $500,000 over 2017-18 levels, but addresses badly needed equipment issues that have been neglected for years. The anticipated revenue projections from EMS staff is that they will generate over $830,000 in revenue in 2018-19, leaving a significant shortfall in operating capital. The EMS board is going to ask the EDS taxing district to increase their monthly contribution over 60 percent from their current levels of $107,000 a month to cover the operating deficit and improve the equipment and services that EMS provides.

The EMS board will present their proposed budget to the Gonzales EDS board in hopes of securing the continued and increased funding. The EDS board was scheduled to meet at the county courthouse this afternoon, but EMS Board member Barbara Hand informed her colleagues that the meeting for today has been canceled.