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Sequatchie County (Tenn.) Budget Committee Seeks Answers to Ambulance Service Money Troubles

DUNLAP, Tenn. -- Sequatchie County Budget Committee officials met Tuesday to seek an answer to the county-owned ambulance service's money problems.

County officials last week transferred $40,000 to keep the ambulances on the road, but the department must collect more of the money it is owed, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Powell said.

"We'll have to feed it for two or three months till we get the paperwork caught up and get the money coming in where it'll sustain itself like it's supposed to," Mr. Powell said Monday.

Since last week, the service collected $18,000, and another $14,000 is expected today, he said.

"That'll keep us afloat till the next pay period," he said

Emergency Services Committee Chairman Will Zimmerman told fellow commissioners last week that "administrative error" caused collections to lag, not "improper activity."

Bookkeeping was transferred to the county executive's office and officials hired someone to catch up on collections, Mr. Zimmerman said.

Mr. Powell wasn't sure what the committee's remedy might be, but he predicted few members would support privatization. "Most (commissioners) are of the opinion that we need to keep the ambulances at home."

Meanwhile, the ambulance service is "going fairly well right now," despite the money trouble, Interim Director Danny Smith said. "We're trying to keep everything running until they figure out what they're going to do."

E-mail Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com

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