CARTER COUNTY (WJHL) – Two rescue squad stations in the Tri-Cities will remain open. But the Carter County stations that were at risk of closing, can only stay open if all sides come to an agreement and sign a contract.
The Roan Mountain and Hampton Rescue Squad stations were on the verge of closing due to lack of funding.
But one week ago, the Carter County Budget Committee approved a one-time payment to help the EMS stations out.
Bill Watson, of Roan Mountain, says his life matters. He said, “it should have never gotten to this.” He added, “how can you think about doing something like that.”
Many county commissioners agreed. Monday, the county decided to give a $160,000, one-time payout to the rescue squad to keep the Roan Mountain and Hampton stations open, while a committee forms to develop a long-term plan.
County Mayor Leon Humphrey said, “we need to put it in a formal contract, drafted by our attorney.”
Another part of the deal? To create a contract between the Carter County Rescue Squad and the county.
“We’ll take a look at the contract and see what it’s about,” said EMS Director Terry Arnold. “They don’t have a contract, we don’t have a contract, so we’re going to have to work diligently. It’s going to take a lot of talk to get this resolved.”
But while the future of the rescue squads are not signed, sealed and delivered, Watson said he is already comforted knowing the rescue squad that serves him is still open.
He said, “we’ll go home and go to bed and have a good night’s rest.”
Details of the contract were not discussed at Monday’s meeting, nor was a deadline. There’s also still no decision on who will actually be on the committee that forms the long-term plan for the county and its rescue squad.
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