The Pettis County Ambulance District has a tentative operational start date of Oct. 1 and will soon begin the interview process for hiring staff.
During a meeting Tuesday the PCAD Board of Directors approved the district’s pay scale system, which will be used for all administrative staff, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
“This is very competitive with the Johnson County Ambulance District,” PCAD Administrator Mike Gardner said. “I’m not one to recruit paramedics and EMTs, if someone wants to apply and send in a resume they can, but we do want to have a competitive pay rate.”
Gardner said when the district is fully operational it will employ 30 to 35 staff members, running four ambulances with an additional fifth ambulance to be used as a backup. The PCAD budget shows a salary budget of approximately $330,000 for this year, though Gardner said that number would greatly increase next year.
“Right now there’s just me and we just hired a trainer, but that’s it as far as salaries go, so our numbers will be different next year,” he said. “Once we have everyone hired I’ll have a better idea about what we’ll need to budget for next year.”
Resumes are already being accepted and Gardner told the board he’d like to start interviews in early August.
The board also discussed the district’s facility needs. Currently Gardner is working out of a small office building on South Limit Avenue but it’s not designed to accommodate any other needs and the district will not be ready to build its own headquarters for at least 18 months. He and board secretary Allan Rohrbach toured the American Paramedical Service Inc. building at 400 Industrial Road but concerns about needed electric upgrades and whether a lease would be available made several board members caution against renting the space.
“If there’s no lease (the owner) could potentially kick us out with no notice,” said Board Chair Greg Nehring. “And we’d still have to put money into upgrading it. We’re going to be operating out of this building for the next two years, I don’t like not having something written that says we can stay there.”
Most board members agreed, though Gardner noted there needed to be some decision made, soon, as the district’s start date was just a few months away.
“We need to find a building for now but I’d also like the board to start thinking about our future building, the one we’ll build,” he said. “The design work and deciding exactly what we want in the building is going to take some time.”
The board decided to continue to look into other areas to rent and will discuss it further at its next meeting on July 9.