Council discusses tourism, medical services

Published 4:26 pm Monday, January 22, 2024

The Harlan City Council discussed several topics during the panel’s regular meeting for January, including appointments to the tourism commission and possible addition of some emergency medical services at the Harlan City Fire Department.

Mayor Joe Meadors advised the council of current vacancies on the city of Harlan Tourism Commission.

“We had two vacancies arise on the tourism commission,” Meadors told the council. “I am going to reappoint Annie Fox as the Hotel and Motel Association representative, and Ann Hensley has agreed to serve again as the council representative.”

Meadors pointed out the tourism commission meets sparingly.

“These meetings are not often, but they are long,” Meadors said. “I think they’re very worthwhile.”

Meadors also updated the council on the progress of the city’s tax collection efforts.

“I can tell you that our tax collections are outstanding,” Meadors said. “As of the close of business today, we’ve collected 92.96 percent of our taxes. That’s amazing. I know the city school (Harlan Independent School District) is still stuck in the low 80 percent, so that’s quite a bit of difference.”

The council also discussed the possibility of the Harlan City Fire Department reinstating certain emergency medical services to the community.

Harlan City Fire Chief James Billings called on Harlan City Fire Dept. Capt. Owen Petrey to advise the council on the matter.

“What this program would do is dispatch trained personnel to your home in the event of a medical emergency,” Petrey said. “This could range anywhere from CPR to administration of life saving medication, airway maintenance…until an ambulance arrives.”

Petrey told the council the Harlan City Fire Department has multiple members trained in emergency medical procedures and will soon have more.

“We’re asking to reinstate this program,” Petrey said. “We’re asking to start the certification process the state requires for a fire department to obtain a license. The application fee is $1,000 and the process takes two months. Once that’s complete, there’s in initial license fee of $3,000 to the Kentucky Board of EMS that we’re not asking for at this time, we’re going to make sure we get our certificate first.”

Petrey also advised the council the billing process for the services could be outsourced to Ambulance Medical Billing, a company out of western Kentucky, at a cost of 8 percent of the revenue.

Council member Ann Hensley asked about the overhead costs for reinstating the program.

“The overhead will cost us…$4,000 this year,” Petrey said. “We have all the equipment we need; the only thing we’re lacking is the license fee.”

Hensley stated she would like to see a detailed budget before making a decision. Council member Jeane Lee expressed concerns about possible liability issues.

Meadors said before making a decision, the council needed to hear from representatives of the billing company, the ambulance service, and the insurance company.

Following some further discussion, the council opted to wait for further information before taking any action on the matter.