Mar 30, 2016 - By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff WriterGuardian Flight -- the private firm which won the rights last week to take control the county's emergency management services -- has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Fremont County Sheriff's Department to pay the full price to have ambulances dispatched by the county.
Guardian's initial reluctance to pay full price had been a late complication as the company prepares to begin a five-year lease of the county's ground ambulance operations in July.
During initial contract negotiations, Guardian had agreed to pay the county $207,000 a year for dispatch services. However, dispatch services are operated by the sheriff's office -- separate county government department -- and officials realized they could not unilaterally incorporate sheriff's office services in the contract.
Sheriff Skip Hornecker said he is legally obligated to charge all end-users of the dispatch center proportionately to their usage.
His office takes a three-year average of the total cost for dispatch, and charges each contractor a percentage.
After negotiations were turned over to Hornecker's office, Guardian had protested paying fees that high. Honecker said Guardian had tried exploring other options, including self-dispatch, but eventually conceded that it would be unworkable.
Guardian will now pay the same amount that the county would have been had EMS not been privatized -- last year, the charge was $280,000.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.