MFAEMS asks GS for increase

In addition to the regular Granite Shoals City Council Meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, a town hall meeting will be held for an update on the urban deer project Wednesday night.




By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Johnny Campbell, executive director of the Marble Falls Area Emergency Service (MFAEMS) presented a contract proposal to the Granite Shoals City Council during a regular meeting Tuesday, July 10.

We are just ending a three-year commitment with Granite Shoals and, historically, three-year contracts have worked very well here,” he said. “For the renewal beginning in October, we propose a six percent increase to $74,000 (for 2018-19), a five percent increase for 2020 and four percent for 2021.”

He said Granite Shoals represents 9.5-10 percent of annual calls — this year estimated to be more than 4,000 calls in the south Burnet County and southeast Llano County area served — most of which originate at the EMS station a the city fire hall.

Donations by utility customers are divided among the Granite Shoals Police Department, the Child Safety Fund and MFAEMS and the EMS reimburses the city of the use of the ambulance station.

The city contract payments would amount to about 2 percent of the MFAEMS annual budget.

Campbell noted that AirEvac is a separate, for-profit helicopter ambulance service, “but your $69 a year membership is a good bargain if it comes to a $50,000 air lift.”

Citizens addressed the council during the Thursday meeting mostly concerning animals.

Richard Spell spoke to the problem of unrestrained dogs that threaten walkers and their pets on leashes; even suggesting an additional animal control officer to cover evenings and weekends.

James Tiemann said they were a threat to feral cats as well. He and Sharon Drake touted support of the Hill Country Cats trap, neuter and release program.

The road bid report occupied only a small part of the Tuesday meeting. The council devoted an executive session to interviews with city manager candidates. That will continue at another special called meeting Tuesday, July 17.

Also proposed for the July 17 meeting is a continuation of the budget process.

On that topic Tuesday night, the council heard a preview of the third quarter financial report from finance director Wendy Gholson. Most departments are operating at or well below the 75 percent expenditure level appropriate for the third quarter.

Amendments to the current 2017-2018 budget will effect the numbers council members hear in the final quarterly report, she noted.

At the meeting the council approved retroactive payment of $17,000 in holiday pay for full-time firefighters and for part-time firefighters, when they work a holiday.

Also, they said yes to an amendment related to the increase in the municipal clerk salary, based on full time, rather than part time.

Still to be considered are other modifications to the city personnel policy.

Members of the Street & Water Advisory Group appeared at the meeting to urge the council to devote all income from the water department to essential projects. Holland went so far as to call transferring money from the water department to the general fund budget as “robbing the cash cow.”

Such a change would reverse the accounting procedure of allocating time from other administrative and work departments devoted to utilities, a choice previously made to clarify how city funds were spent.

Interim city manager Marvin Townsend again urged the council to consider annexations as a path to revenue. Holland has been a lone voice in strong opposition to that, insisting the city has little to offer someone new to the fold and he said so again Tuesday night.

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