McLennan County Commissioners heard a plan Tuesday for a nonprofit emergency medical service to serve the southern part of the county.

The South McLennan Emergency Medical Service was recently incorporated by the Secretary of State’s office, and its 501(c)(3) status is pending with the IRS, said Dennis Clark, who is organizing the effort. Clark said he is not seeking county money but wanted to keep commissioners updated. Clark wants to improve EMS response times on the south side of McLennan County, he said.

“The area we’ve discussed has been, just in general, south of Highway 84 and west U.S. Highway 77,” he said.

Most for-profit emergency services rely on “hard billing,” so when a customer can not pay a medical bill, the service sends the information to a collection agency, hurting the customer’s credit, Clark said. If a customer and insurance company can not cover the full cost of an emergency bill issued by the nonprofit, fundraising efforts will offset the cost, Clark said.

“Making profit off of somebody’s time of greatest need is, to me, is something I don’t see is morally right,” he said. “When we respond in EMS we respond to somebody’s worst moment.”

Commissioners asked Clark to continue to update them on the effort.

Hills Over the Bosque

Commissioners also held a public hearing on proposed improvements to privately maintained roads in the Hills Over the Bosque subdivision.

Property owners in the subdivision would cover the cost of any work the county does.

Four people spoke asking county commissioners for help.

County Engineer Zane Dunnam said a majority of owners in the 27-lot subdivision petitioned the county to address the roads. The total project would cost $57,781, or $2,140 per lot, Dunnam said.

Paul McBride, who has lived in the subdivision about a year and a half, told commissioners several months ago the subdivision started discussions about how to address the poor roads.

The subdivision’s original developer went bankrupt, and the roads have deteriorated for the past three decades, McBride said.

David Davis, another petitioner, said he has owned his home for 20 years and would greatly appreciate the county’s help.

“When there’s a big pothole, I go buy a big sack of asphalt and throw it in,” Davis said.

With approval from the court, ballots will be mailed to each lot owner in the subdivision, Dunnam said. If a majority votes for the work the county will move forward, he said. The deadline for residents in the subdivision to pay the county back for the work would be determined after the votes are tallied, he said.

Downtown garage

Commissioners also will soon need to decide what to do with the county’s garage at Seventh Street and Washington Avenue.

The fuel in a 5,882-gallon underground tank at the garage has been intentionally used up, and the tank has been shut off, equipment maintenance director Wayne Canady said.

Commissioners have previously discussed relocating the county garage because the space is too small for the maintenance crew. Canaday said will need to decide whether to file paperwork with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality stating the tank is temporarily out of service or to start the process of permanently removing the tank.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Kelly Snell suggested the county mark the tank out of service and start seeking bids to remove it.

Canaday said he expects removal to cost $30,000 to $35,000.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Recommended for you