Athens Review, Athens, Texas

July 17, 2013

Ambulance service to be considered

Final reading on non-emergency service expected on Monday

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens City Council is expected to consider a final reading on Monday for a non-emergency ambulance service in the city.

City Administrator Pam Burton said the final barrier to approval was removed when the state approved a license for Impel Ambulance Service. The council originally scheduled the item for a vote in May, but delayed it, pending license approval from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The council approved a first reading of the ordinance on April 8, granting the request of Impel Ambulance Service to transfer patients to and from doctor’s offices, dialysis centers, rehab facilities and other destinations, including the hospital. Impel officials said the service will cut down on some of the wait time patients have experienced in getting to such facilities.

Impel’s request drew a response from East Texas Medical Service, which provides ambulance service for the Athens area. Neil Franklin, the General Manager for ETMC EMS, said the provider depends on the money it makes on non-emergency runs to help overcome the cost of emergency transports.

In other action, City Director of Planning and Development Greg Crecelius said several work projects are nearing  being underway in the city. The Ag-Power John Deere dealership on Loop 7 is starting to take shape.

“They’re painting right now and should be ready to open in about six weeks,” Crecelius said.

The Athens Independent School District is working at the high school and middle school to improve security.

“They’ve added some internal security measures, so when people come in, they have to stop and identify themselves,” Crecelius said. “That’s ongoing and expected to be completed when school starts back up.”

Director of Finance David Hopkins said the city continues to bring in more sales-tax revenues than budgeted.

“We haven’t had a negative month since November,” Hopkins said. “If you remember, we left our sales-tax budget flat. We didn’t increase it.”