Latest Town Hall focuses on EMS, improving community narrative

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Commissioner Ben Kafferlin speaks during Wednesday’s town hall meeting held at the Glade Township VFD hall.

Emergency medical services issues dominated the town hall meeting held Wednesday by the Warren County Commissioners.

The fourth in a string of town halls being held throughout the county, Wednesday’s session was held at the Glade Township VFD hall.

Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said that upcoming town halls are scheduled for Grand Valley and Youngsville.

There has been a “different major topic each time,” he said. “It is interesting to see what each community wants to bring to the commissioners.”

Discussion on Wednesday picked up with the county’s purchase of a new emergency radio system.

In response to a question about whether each department would need to purchase additional radios, Public Safety Director Todd Lake said the purchase was a “replacement for what they have.”

He acknowledged the departments may need to purchase additional items down the road but said the chiefs have agreed to move a proposed joint purchase to next year in order to have a better understanding of the need.

Kafferlin said he wouldn’t have been able to support the purchase if it put an “undue burden” on the departments.

The issue of declining volunteerism was also raised.

Lake said it’s a nation-wide issue and Kafferlin suggested it’s more an issue of the time required for EMT training than the cost.

Kafferlin said they are working with the area’s state legislatures to develop a way for current LPNs and RNs to be about to go through a “seamless transition” to work as an EMT or EMR on an ambulance crew.

Both Kafferlin and Commissioner Jeff Eggleston provided project updates. Commissioner Cindy Morrison was not in attendance.

Eggleston highlighted work with the Redevelopment Task Force that is looking, specifically, at a re-tooled and well-funded redevelopment authority.

He said the board is looking for “long-term game changing things for our community” and suggested that the board is working at a “break neck pace. I think we’ve hit our stride…. Our goal (is to) be as positive as we can in moving things forward.”

Kafferlin highlighted initiatives to link the faith community with jail inmates as well as the radio project.

He noted that the community “largely has a negative attitude towards itself” and said that “needs to stop” because it isn’t true.

“We need to start changing the narrative if we’re going to turn the brain-drain around.”