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Being new to the judge-executive office has kept Carolyn Keith’s hands full. Her most recent task has been overseeing the 2009-2010 Owen County budget.
Members of the fiscal court met April 23 for a budget workshop. The main topic discussed was how to get advanced life support (ALS) established in Owen County.
An ALS ambulance is one that is equipped with all of the supplies needed to care for a severely injured or ill person and has at least one paramedic and one EMT on board. The paramedic on board would have the ability to administer life-saving drugs.
Owen County is one of only three counties in Kentucky lacking ALS in its ambulance service.
Keith said having ALS would benefit residents of Owen County, and it would bring in more revenue.
“From my humanitarian side, I believe it’s going to save lives,” Keith said. “It will also increase our revenue and insurance will pay more if paramedics are on board.”
Keith said not having the ALS service is dangerous to the lives of those who live further out in the county.
“Because we are so large geographically, it would benefit the lives of patients who live out at the furthest points of our county,” Keith said. “The paramedic on board would be able to do so much more than the EMT, which could save the patient’s life.”
Keith said if the county does not go ALS, it will have to hire at least two more EMTs.
To cut costs in this year’s budget, Keith has opted to bring the payroll back in-house. The payroll is currently being done by an independent agency after being recommended by auditors during last year’s investigation of former county officials: Billy O’Banion, Renae Gaines and Gayla Lewis.
“Having the payroll outsourced costs about $5,000 a year,” Keith said. “We will be taking the necessary precautions to avoid any problems with the payroll.”
Keith said Owen County Treasurer Norma McDonald must sign all checks and will therefore be signing her own. Keith and Deputy Owen County Judge-Executive Pam Miller will not be signing their own checks, but instead signing each other’s.
Keith said not only is outsourcing the payroll costly, but it can also cause significant delays if there are mistakes on an employee’s check.
In order to trim expenses Keith said she would be paying for her own cell phone and any training she may take. Keith will receive money for conferences and registration fees, but this expense will be lowered from $3,000 to $500. She also said she was reducing the travel money allocated for her position from $3,000 to $500.