SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Southeast Shelby County Rescue held their final public meeting Thursday night on the proposed EMS district in the community. The district would cover unincorporated areas of Columbiana and Wilsonville.
Thursday’s meeting provided clarity to some people and confusion to others. EMS officials say this district is needed to provide much-needed services.
“It’s not to scare you. It’s just…we have to make that change to be able to look at you and say ‘we’re coming. We’re going to be there as quick as we can,” Captain Matthew Rush with Southeast Shelby County EMS said.
Captain Rush answered as many questions as he could from the public at Wilsonville Baptist Church on the proposed EMS district. If approved, landowners with a typical home would pay $80 yearly; the number would increase based on the number of acres someone has. Landowners with no residents would pay $50 up to 50 acres yearly. Owners of commercial properties would pay 6 cents per square foot.
County Commissioner Kevin Morris was at Thursday’s meeting. He told the crowd inside why this vote is important.
“If this does not pass, the county will have to engage in some form or fashion. Because they are going to have to help at least find contracted services,” Morris said.
Some people say the language of the proposal is confusing. Both financially and how the district is drawn out. This is why some people wish there was more time to discuss the issue.
“I just think you didn’t go the right way to get to the decision you wanted. From a businessman’s perspective. You just back into this the wrong way,” one man said.
If the vote doesn’t pass, EMS could face even more financial hardships. Some asked if there is another way to help out.
“I’m trying to figure out if this is enough if this is a no vote, what do we need to raise for y’all to help get you through the year?” a woman asked Captain Rush.
EMS Chief Mark Bray understands why people aren’t crazy about paying the money, but he hopes people realize it would help them provide better services.
The vote on the district will be Jan. 26.