Honestly, I don’t know what to believe any more about the Washington County budget and the Air Ambulance program. The Spectator program on Monday and Tuesday was based on quotes from the County Judge, a County Commissioner, the EMS Director, and an independent auditor. Quotes that were taken directly from recorded audio by those folks. Now, what I quoted is being called false, speculative and “Fake News” by those same people. Elected officials calling their own words “Fake News”. I’m inclined to believe they are right about that.
As I said during Monday’s editorial, I am not against the Air Ambulance program. All I want, and the public deserves, is for Judge Durrenberger, the County Commissioners, and EMS Director Kevin Deramus to tell us the real numbers for the program. Don’t tell us that the only expense is what is paid to Metro Aviation for the helicopter and pilots. I’m certain there are trained paramedics onboard those flights too. Commissioner Candice Bullock says the total budget for the EMS Department in 2022 was $5.66 million. This week the Commissioners Court approved a budget of $9.26 million for the EMS. I guess costs are rising extremely fast as just a month ago Commissioner Kirk Hanath said the EMS budget was $8 million.
During Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting, the public comment portion of the meeting was dominated by county officials blasting me for using their own words against them…saying that’s not the “true story”. Even Deramus chose to do the same in a presentation to the Burton City Council, telling them I should have had a private meeting with them to learn the true numbers as I did before the program started. Come on guys…I’m using the words and figures that you are giving to the public. No wonder you just approved $100,000 for a Public Information Officer. Not everyone gets to have a private meeting with you. Just come clean with the real numbers for the Air Ambulance program and the EMS Department. That’s all I’m asking for…the “true story”.
At least that’s all I’m asking on the present subject. Next week we’ll get into the cancelled contract for the approved security fence for the jail, the ongoing 3 year generator project for the county jail, and the new county justice center that has never been built.
And that’s the way it looks to this Spectator.