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Taxpayers for Sensible Government (TPSG), a local Political Action Committed (PAC), met Tuesday, August 12, to hear reports on four specific issues currently affecting the people of McCulloch County, Texas. About 120 people attended the meeting at the Heart of Texas Event Center.

Surprisingly, most of those attending represent various factions of the Medical Care industry in McCulloch County. The McCulloch County Hospital District Board of Directors attended as a group after posting official 72-hour notice they would do so. In addition, the HOT Healthcare Systems CEO, at least two local doctors and most of the local Emergency Medical Services personnel not on duty were present. This unexpected interest in TPSG by local healthcare personnel was seen as a very positive development for TPSG's goal of promoting community unity and local government transparency.

Joanne Coffey presented the first Community Information Report on the City of Brady Budget for 2014-15. This report is too long to present here but will be the subject of future articles at Sense & Nonsense. In her report Ms. Coffey noted that she was given free and cheerful access to public records that were near impossible to obtain in the recent past.

Gary Sutton presented the second Community Information Report on the private PAWS from The Heart Animal Shelter. The shelter, located just East of the old POW camp, will be complete soon. It was built and equipped using private donations at no taxpayer expense. The City of Brady has agreed to contract with the PAWS from The Heart Animal Shelter to house all animals collected by the Brady Animal Control officer. They will pay PAWS from The Heart Animal Shelter $30,000 a year for this service in lieu of building and staffing a City owned facility. The McCulloch County Commissioners Court paved a county road to the new facility using Precinct 4 road funds.

Lyle Daniel presented a Community Information Report on how City Ordinance 1155 affects Emergency Medical Service (EMS) in McCulloch county. In effect, the ordinance requires any ambulance picking up patients in McCulloch County to be licensed by the City and meet the same standards as the current EMS and 911 service. Unlicensed ambulance services can travel through or deliver patients to destinations in McCulloch County.

Ordinance 1155 was passed by the City Council to counter the threat of private ambulance services moving into the area to transport insured patients while leaving indigent patients for the City to transport. Also, private ambulances do not offer EMS and 911 services that are very expensive and difficult to provide. By "cherry-picking" just the most profitable and easiest patients, private ambulances services suck off revenue that supports full EMS and 911 services in McCulloch County. The private tax-exempt HOT Healthcare Systems now running Brady Hospital wanted to initiate private ambulance service in McCulloch County but Ordinance 1155 makes it unprofitable to do so.

Charles Stokes, newly appointed to the Economic Development Corp (EDC) Board of directors, presented the fourth Community Information Report. It was on Civic Center expansion and renovation. This project, approved by the voters in 2009, has been ignored and delayed for five years for some unknown reason. There seems to be common agreement that "something" needs to be done but no actual plans have ever been presented for public discussion.

Mr Stokes presented some preliminary information on the regulatory requirements for public buildings and a drawing of the existing Civic Center floor plan. As a starting point, he said seated audiences required 10 sq ft of space per person while seating people at tables required 15 sq ft per person and dancing needed over 20 sq ft per person. Restroom and other requirements also increase as capacity increases.

Determining the capacity the community wants is the first step in planning. The new EDC board will probably make this a priority since it is an old project and was approved by the voters.

Reference Articles:

Ambulance/EMS Services Come Before Council

EMS Facts - 1

EMS Facts - 2

EMS - Questions and Opinion

"Non-Profit" Means "Tax-Exempt"

Reference Document:

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