County to hold public meeting on EMS

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

The Bonner County Commissioners will hold a public meeting regarding possible changes to the county’s Emergency Management Services system 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 18, at the Bonner County Administration Building.

The meeting comes after news that the board is considering shifting the current EMS system from county-operated to a non-profit entity. The county is considering North Valley EMS, which McDonald said “was created to potentially do business with Bonner County” by interim EMS director Jeff Lindsey. Former EMS Chief Bob Bussey resigned in early December.

BOCC Deputy Clerk Jessi Webster said the Jan. 18 meeting “is simply an opportunity for the BOCC to hear comments,” and that there should be no discussion between the board and the public or any decisions made. The BOCC will have an attorney present at the meeting, she said.

Commissioner Dan McDonald said the nonprofit option attracted the county’s attention after being “impressed” by Boundary County’s use of a non-profit EMS model. He said that in the board’s quest to find “better ways to do things” within the county, “EMS was a place that needed a much harder look.”

Opponents of the possible transition listed violation of open meeting laws, changes to response time and EMS staffing as well as the lack of a bid process as their main concerns at a Dec. 18 BOCC regular business meeting.

Webster said comments at the Jan. 18 meeting will be limited to three minutes, and comment time cannot be transferred to another attendee, as it’s not a hearing. The meeting will be held in the first floor conference room at the Administration Building.

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