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EMS funding requests approved by county commission

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Three county volunteer fire units will apply for $62,000 in funding for emergency medical services (EMS) supplies, equipment and training.

The Chaves County Board of Commissioners approved the 2019-20 applications to the EMS Bureau of the New Mexico Department of Health during its Thursday morning meeting.

“Basically what this is, is to keep our folks trained up to the best ability we can,” said Commissioner Robert Corn. “We kind of joke sometimes about this stuff, but this is pretty important stuff and I want people to know that I am not taking this lightly.”

Only three of the county’s eight volunteer fire and rescue units applied for the funding. Georgianna Hunt, Chaves County community development manager, said that only those who meet EMS requirements did so. The applications now will be reviewed by the Department of Health, with funding decisions expected in about two months.

Berrendo Volunteer Fire and Rescue, which has one paramedic and 10 emergency medical technicians (EMTs), has applied for $25,500 for six requests, including training, equipment maintenance and new automatic external defibrillator (AED) units.

Midway Fire and EMS is asking for $17,900 for 11 items, including training and medical supplies. That unit, which primarily serves the Midway and Dexter area, has two paramedics and 12 trained EMTs.

Sierra Volunteer Fire Department has applied for $19,500 for nine requests, including vehicle repairs, supplies and training. Sierra has one paramedic and 12 EMTs.

The commission also acted on several other items during its meeting.

• With no county resident appearing to speak for or against a low-income property tax rebate that can be enacted with approval of county commissions, the five commissioners voted unanimously not to institute the rebate. By state law enacted in 1994, commissions are required to hold public hearings in January of every odd year to determine whether public interest exists in the tax reduction, which would require the county to pay property taxes for people earning less than $24,000 a year. The Chaves County Board of Commissioners has never voted for the rebate.

• Commissioners also voted 5-0 to repeal ordinance O-089, which had instituted a one-eighth of one percent Hold Harmless gross receipts tax effective in July 2015 with a June 30, 2020 expiration date. In December 2018, commissioners passed another ordinance, O-102, that allows the tax to continue indefinitely with no sunset date, so the prior ordinance had to be revoked.

• Chief Deputy Assessor Ron Lethgo has been appointed as voting member on the Worker’s Compensation Insurance and MultiLine Insurance Pool boards of the New Mexico Counties group. Safety and Compliance Manager Tim Salazar was named alternate.

• The commissioners also agreed to continue holding their regular meetings at 9 a.m. on the third Thursdays of the month. The Indigent Health Care and Hospital Board, also represented by the commissioners, will meet some months on the same day at 8:30 a.m.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.