Van Buren Commission approves purchase of $182,000 ambulance

By | March 22, 2018 9:55 am

Last Updated: March 22, 2018 at 9:56 am

The Van Buren County commissioners have approved the purchase of the Ten Commandments’ monument and placing it on display at the county’s new administration building. (Photo by BOBBY MCCULLEY)

Van Buren County commissioners took up business March 20 that was discussed during the board’s last monthly meeting about the shortage of functioning ambulances.

During their Feb. 20 meeting, commissioners had discussed several different courses of action that the county could take to resolve the ambulance shortage.

According to information that was presented to the commissioners during last month’s meeting, Van Buren County Emergency Medical Service has two ambulances that are not in working condition. Since 2009, the VBCEMS has operated with four ambulances and is now only operating with two.

One of Van Buren’s ambulances was involved in a collision and totaled, while another ambulance has a blown motor. Additionally, VBCEMS has an additional ambulance that’s experiencing issues that will not allow the ambulance to get over speeds of 55 miles per hour.

During February’s meeting, the board authorized Steering Committee A to spend up to $130,000, which includes approximately $43,617 from an insurance settlement, toward purchasing a remount kit to repair an existing ambulance.

The commission took another step toward solving the county’s ambulance shortage during the March 20 meeting by approving a motion to spend $182,000 on purchasing a new ambulance. Between the authorization made last month and the approval made this month, VBCEMS will now be restored to four functioning ambulances once they arrive.

Another item that was considered by the commissioners was the approval of placing a Ten Commandments monument – display at the county’s newly constructed administration building.

According to discussions held by the commissioners, the display of the Ten Commandments would be placed near the front of the administration building. This proposed display will cost the county taxpayers approximately $1,000, according to discussions held during the commission meeting.

Displaying the Ten Commandments on government property has over the years been a widely contested subject. The United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor and against displays of the Christian document on government – public properties.

Tennessee Code Annotated 5-7-115 states, “Each county is authorized to display, in county public buildings and on county public grounds, replicas of historical documents including… the Ten Commandments, Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence…”

The Van Buren county commissioners approved the purchase of the Ten Commandments monument and placing it on display at the county’s new administration building.

Other items of business included:

-Approval of $1.5 million for final payment of the administration building

-Discussions on property that will be vacated once moved into the county’s new administration building

-Approval of budget amendments in the amount of $16,000 for solid waste equipment repairs and $8,000 for landfill operation expenditures

-Discussions about repairs at the Van Buren County Public Library, which has been closed since December

-Approval of a 15-year Van Buren County Parks and Recreation Master Plan

-Two surplus heart monitors from VBCEMS to be donated to Piney Volunteer Fire Department

-Van Buren County Sheriff Department received a safety grant, which has been used to purchase new metal detectors, wands, and tasers.

The Van Buren County Board of Commissioners will hold its next monthly meeting at 6 p.m., April 16, at the Van Buren County Fair Building.

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