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LRMC working on EMS building
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Liberty Regional Medical Center isn’t waiting around for county money to build its new, much-needed EMS headquarters building.
“We think we can fund it initially,” LRMC CEO Scott Kroell told Liberty County commissioners during Tuesday evening’s meeting. “We realize that sales tax revenue is down a little bit … we also realize the need for an EMS headquarters is needed.”
Surveying is complete and architectural work is finished on the new building, which will replace the 30-year-old structure on Main Street.
The county has committed $750,000 for the new building in taxpayer money through SPLOST funds, but the amount will take years to accumulate.
“Regardless of the SPLOST timing, we think we need to go ahead and do this,” Kroell said.
So far, after a month of collections through SPLOST, there is $9,000 available, according to sales tax manager Tammy Bunting.
“This project will continue to accumulate monies throughout the tax, which ends in March of 2015,” Bunting said.
EMS Director Jim Turner presented proposed layout plans for the facility to the commission.
There will be three bays for emergency vehicles, Turner said, and the structure will be a steel building.
Final plans have not been developed yet. The old building will be torn down and new headquarters will go up across the street.
The hospital has asked for a little over $15,000 to help buy a new ambulance. The money will supplement the $71,000 grant the EMS received in April.
LRMC also has some plans to update its building.
The reception area is being remodeled to look more warm and inviting to patients.
Patrons used to have to speak to the receptionist through a glass, but the desk will be free of barriers when construction finishes up in the coming week.
Kroell reported the publicly-owned hospital hopes to attract a cardiologist.
“Our main effort is for a cardiologist,” Kroell said. “We hope to have a cardiologist here by the fall.”
Commissioners learned LRMC had improvements in its net assets with expenses down and a bottom line of a little over $600,000.
In other business, commissioners decided to grant only part of Save Our Children’s $13,000 request for support from the Drug Abuse and Treatment Education fund.
The DATE fund currently has $12,600 and program received $5,000.
The board decided it was best to save some money in case other qualified agencies want to apply.
“Don’t deplete [the fund],” said commissioner Eddie Walden. “I’m for helping all of them.”
The DATE fund is a revolving account from fines and forfeitures collected from the courts.
If left untouched, it has the potential to accumulate about $40,000 a year, according to county administrator Joey Brown.
Walden thought a policy should be in place where an organization doesn’t receive any more than 50 percent of the account at a time.

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