Summit County Council should reimburse the cost of emergency medical services on the East Side

The Park City Fire District operates ambulance service at both the North Summit and South Summit as well as the Snyderville Basin. Chief Bob Zanetti expressed the need for change, which Summit County Council seemed open to on Monday.
Park Record File Photo

County officials weren’t ready to support long-term changes to emergency medical services in Summit County earlier this month, but now seem inclined to give the Park City Fire District more independence. .

Summit County Council met Monday for a special session in which they heard budget presentations, including a proposal from Chief Bob Zanetti. Acting County Executive Janna Young recommended budgeting around $4 millionhowever, Zanetti appealed the number in hopes of mitigating the true cost of the services.

But after some discussion about the future of fire and medical services, the county council was willing to let Park City Fire handle its own collections and billing. The small switch won’t change the structure of the county’s EMS system, but it does allow Zanetti to take over the fire district’s finances. The county will continue to collect revenue from the North and South Peaks and will direct a portion of it to Park City Fire to address Zanetti’s concerns that district ratepayers are subsidizing the East Side.

Approximately $2.2 million was budgeted for Park City Fire to provide emergency medical services on the West Side and $1.8 million was budgeted for North Summit and South Summit services. However, Zanetti estimates the fire district will incur a cost of $1.5 million — specifically $73,622 on the east side — based on this year’s spending.

The proposed budget includes an additional $800,000 to balance the costs of the North Summit and the South Summit, according to Young. She said Park City Fire is unlikely to provide countywide emergency medical services for all of 2023 and expects the funding to help the fire district get through the first six months of the fire. year – until a third party review of EMS is completed and an agreement with the county council can be reached.

“There are so many factors that make it a moving target,” Young said. “When I first presented the budget, we explained that this was an unknown issue that needed to be reviewed, probably in mid-2023, and budget adjustments would be made. It’s not that we’re trying to fool the fire district, it’s just that we had to come up with the budget figure…and try not to increase the budget really substantially.

SafeTech Solutions, a consultancy facilitating assessment, began hosting community listening sessions last week. The first event took place on October 25 in Kamas. Additional meetings are scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Thursday in the Ledges Event Center’s multi-purpose room in Coalville and Friday in the downstairs conference room at the Summit County Health Department in Quinn’s Junction. .

The events are town hall style and provide attendees with the opportunity to gather and share ideas while gaining new perspectives. The resulting information will be presented to county officials as part of the overall EMS planning process to guide future changes in Summit County, particularly as Park City Fire seeks to provide services in its own jurisdictions.

North Summit Fire District Chief Ben Nielson also wants the North Summit Fire District to acquire its own license and provide medical services. The South Summit Fire Protection District did not pursue the changes as aggressively. Nielsen is asking for a tax increase to help address the East Side’s shortcomings.

A public hearing on the North Summit Fire District’s 2023 budget and recommended tax rate is scheduled for early December.