One of the items discussed at last night’s city council meeting was the acquisition of an ALS vehicle from Passavant Area Hospital to the Jacksonville Fire Department to help the transition to providing more paramedic services within the area.
As previously reported, Passavant Area Hospital is in the middle of a transition to discontinue its hospital-based paramedic services, and will look to other commercial and area ALS and EMS services to assist in that department. Last night, Jacksonville Fire Chief Doug Sills notified the city council that the local department has received a gift of an ALS, or Advanced Life Support, vehicle from Passavant Area Hospital.
Sills explains where the Jacksonville Fire Department currently stands in their transition to providing more ALS service to Jacksonville and the surrounding community.
“We’ve been looking at transitioning to ALS now for about two years. (With) the SAFER grant, we were fortunate enough to increase our staffing levels by three, and it’s getting us that much closer to being able to staff a full-time Advanced Life Support paramedic service here in the community,” says Sills.
As for the aforementioned SAFER grant that the department recently received, Chief Sills explains how that grant, along with this new vehicle from Passavant, will help them in their transition process.
“Right now, the fire department has six paramedics, we have two per shift currently on staff. With the SAFER grant we were able to hire three more paramedics, plus with this next year upcoming, we’re going to be able to train two more paramedics, so we’re going to be looking at anywhere between three and four paramedics per shift withing a year from now,” Sills says.
Also at last night’s meeting, aldermen discussed whether or not to provide a loan from the city’s Revolving Loan Fund to the new owners of Northridge Hills Golf course. The new owners first requested a loa of $250,000 over a 30-year period at a .5 percent interest rate. However, City Treasurer Ron Smiljanich suggested a loan of $100,000 to avoid completely depleting the Revolving Loan Fund, which currently holds $183,000.
Several aldermen seemed divided on the opinion of how much money to loan to the new owners of the golf course, however most appeared to be okay with a loan of $125,000. It was eventually decided that the issue would be further discussed in a separate committee and be revisited at a future council meeting.