Germantown mulling private ambulance service - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Germantown mulling private ambulance service

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If you live in Germantown, your property taxes are expected to go up in order to pay for the new Unified school district.

But what about footing the bill for a private ambulance service?

For homeowner William Glass, the city's proposal to leave Rural Metro and look at privatizing its ambulance service doesn't make any sense.

"It's a dollars and cents issue from the stand point of what it's going to do to our property tax base," he said.

Glass says in 2011 it was a resounding no vote to privatizing ambulances. He says even the city has admitted Rural Metro has done a good job, why add on more taxes?

Glass also says Germantown still doesn't know what kind of property taxes it's facing to foot the bill for the new Unified schools system, which goes into effect in August.

"Ninety million dollars. Is this a time for us to get into spending more money on something else that, frankly, I haven't heard anybody in the community say the service with Rural Metro has been poor," he said.

If Germantown  moves forward with getting its own ambulance service, it could lead to several concerns including increase in cost, a change in response times and if you live on the border, exactly who will be responsible for responding to your emergency.

"Probably five, six, seven years ago when the gentleman had some cardiac problems in Bartlett, trying to decide which ambulance to send it always causes problems," said Glenn Miller, who has worked for Rural Metro for the past 15 years. "The less fragmentation you have the better overall service you will have."

Shelby County has 14 ambulances at its disposal to cover every area except Bartlett, which has its own emergency service, Miller said. The contract with the county ends in June.

"Shelby County usually pays about 50 percent of the contract," Miller said. "The other 50 percent, the rest of the municipalities pay, split on an as use basis."

Glass and Miller both say its unclear why the city of Germantown is looking to privatize the ambulance service. But with an increase in taxes to pay for a new school district on the horizon, when it comes to ambulance service if it's not broke, there's no need to fix it.

FOX13 News sought out comment from Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy and Fire Chief John Selberg about the ambulance proposal, but have not heard back.

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