MOULTRIE -- Ambulance fees will go up five percent in July, Colquitt Regional Medical Center officials said this week.

The increase is necessary, they said, in light of inflationary pressures on expenses as well as a 10-percent cut in Medicaid ambulance reimbursements from the state.

The Colquitt County Commission approved the increase in Tuesday night's regular meeting.

The hospital doesn't want to run into a deficit in operations, and rather than have taxpayers bear the burden, it chose to raise fees, Emergency Room Director Paul Bynum said.

The commission provides funding to ambulance services at the public hospital. If the service goes in the red, the county will make up the difference, but most of the last several years have either broke even or operated in the black, Commission Chairman Max Hancock said. If the service comes under budget, the county gets a refund.

Earlier in the week, the county turned down a $95,000 request for a new ambulance to replace one with excessive millage.

In other county business

Waived rental fees for a continued usage request of the agricultural complex by New Life Family Worship Center as it builds a new church.

Commissioner Joe Clark commented that the commission seems to waive more fees than collect them.

Thursday, the county attorney, administrator and commission chairman will meet with Department of Human Resources representatives and Rep. Richard Royal to come to agreeable terms on the lease agreement of the new Department of Family and Children Services currently under construction.

Approved for a second time the issuance of industrial development revenue bonds by the Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority for the benefit of Destiny Industries to the tune of $2.65 million. The commission had jumped the gun and approved the bond issuance at the wrong time and had to do it over, County Administrator Brian Marlowe said.

Property owner Darrel Ealum failed to show a second time before the commission. Ealum had requested an audience with commissioners to discuss his difficulties in resolving his debt of more than $10,600 in back garbage fees.

Approved the nomination of Hugh Ward, Sherrod McCall Jr., Marie Saunders and Diane Stephens to the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library Board. Commissioner Merle Hall, who is up for re-election, is asking to step down.

Agreed to carry the title and insurance on a van for the health department to be used by the Ellenton Health Clinic. Savings would amount to $3,625, Commissioner Ray Norman said. The health department will budget $5,000 to cover the costs and any deductibles, he said.

Decided to scrap bids for the construction of a four-foot retaining wall to be built at the government annex. Commissioners are wanting to add pipe to be routed to a drain.

To talk to reporter Lori Glenn, call 985-4545, ext. 224.

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