CRESTLINE – Vicki Lash is not alone in her stance against the Crestline Village Council’s approval of an ordinance that allows residents to be charged a $50 fee for refusal of emergency services transport.
Lash, who has worked in fire and rescue for 30 years, said the ordinance perpetuates a dangerous situation.
“Older residents pay their bills when they come in the mail. This could mean the difference between a resident buying food or paying this bill. They live on a tight budget,” Lash said.
Lash also said that residents will be afraid to call for help because of the ordinance and could die without medical intervention.
“They may fall and be afraid to call since they may not have to go to the hospital. They could have a pain that could signal a heart attack but not call because they will be afraid if it turns out to not be anything serious, they will get charged the $50 for not going to the hospital,” Lash said.
Several other residents spoke out that village tax money pays for the service so the $50 charge should not be necessary.
Council member Allen Laferty, who heads up the police, fire and health committee, said a meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 3 at the Village Administration Building to work out the details before a policy is put into place.
“The policy has not been put into effect so no one is being charged the fee yet,” Laferty said.
Laferty said it costs $100 to $150 for each emergency squad run but Lash and several others disagree.
“The workers are being paid whether they are sitting at the station or out on a run. It does not take $150 worth of gas to go a few blocks,” Lash said.
Another upset Crestline resident voiced her concerns to the council Monday evening.
Tonia Keeler said she is being harassed by a neighbor and that Crestline Police officers have not been helpful.
“I need help. Because of something that happened a few months ago, the police officers are not helping me at all,” said Keeler as she held on to a walker she is using due to a recent back surgery.
Mayor David Sharrock told Keeler to provide him with her cell phone number.
“I will meet with the dispatchers and the captain tomorrow and get back with you tomorrow or Wednesday,” said Sharrock.
Council passed three ordinances and one resolution, including an ordinance to create a police and fire levy fund and one to allocate money to the fund after it is established.
Gasuras can be reached on Twitter at @kimberlygasuras