Archive for Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Basehor continues push for new EMS annex

May 28, 2014

— Basehor city officials sat down with Leavenworth county commissioners Wednesday and pushed for a new Emergency Medical System headquarters to be built in Basehor.

Over the past several years, Basehor has been arguing its case for a new annex of the Leavenworth County EMS station to reduce call times for Emergency Medical Technicians. County Administrator Patrick Hurley said the new annex is something everyone agrees needs to be built, but is something the county can't afford right now.

"We recognize that because of the growth in that area (the Highway 24/40 corridor), we need a new annex to be built," Hurley said. "It's just a question of when and how we will fund it."

Basehor City Administrator Lloyd Martley said he and the city are pushing to have the new annex built on the future city campus.

"We are prepared as a city to go after the county to have this thing built in Basehor," Martley said. "We told them we'll provide the land."

Martley said emergency call response times from EMS have long been a concern in Basehor. Martley says response can be up to 25 minutes at times because of communication time and the distance the EMS vehicle needs to drive to get to Basehor. Ambulances respond from Tonganoxie or elsewhere in northern Leavenworth County to Basehor emergencies.

"We've been getting complaints about response time for a long time now," Martley said.

Last year, the county agreed to fund a mobile EMS vehicle in Basehor at the cost of $35,000 per year to be paid off by the end of 2014. However, the county pulled the matching 2014 funds, Martley said, leaving the city without an answer to solve the continuing long response times.

The current annex at U.S. Highway 24-40 and Laming Road, which houses offices for the county treasurer, sheriff and EMS, has been in need of expansion for many years. In 2006, the county extended a 1-cent sales tax plan to fund capital and road improvements, including a new county annex. However, Hurley said, the majority of those funds have been earmarked for the County Road 1 project near Tonganoxie and a communication system improvement project for county emergency officials.

The 1-cent sales tax increase is set to end in 2016, but Hurley said the county may propose to extend it once more to fund the annex.

"That will allow all of the cities in the county to identify what they would commit to the project over the next years," Hurley said.

Basehor officials plan to get their commitment in to the county as soon as possible. Martley said he and the City Council will discuss the city's official proposal at the June 2 City Council work session meeting. The city will also push to meet with the County Commission to acquire a commitment from the county that Basehor would be home for the new annex, Martley said. Hurley said other cities in the county are preparing to do the same.

"Yes, Tonganoxie may have a higher call rate right now," Marltey said. "But Basehor will pass Tonganoxie in population in the next two years. The focus needs to be in our growth area."

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