LAPEER COUNTY — There have been some changes to the Lapeer County EMS Board since a majority of residents approved a 1-mill tax to fund the countywide ambulance service.
On Nov. 8, 2016, Lapeer County residents narrowly passed the millage by a vote of 21,706 in favor to 20,174 opposed.
LCEMS Director Kieth Rumbold said the newest additions to the seven-member LCEMS Board include: Goodland Twp. Clerk Mavis Roy and Dryden Twp. Supervisor Tina Papineau.
Roy and Papineau will serve as "at large" members and assume the seats left vacant by Eldon Card and Nina Suter, both of whom opted to step down from their positions.
Other current board members include: (permanent members) Imlay City Manager Tom Youatt and North Branch Supervisor Lynn Hoffman, along with at-large members Attica Twp. Supervisor Al Ocheadleus, Hadley Treasurer Chris Tippen and Mayfield Clerk Julie Schlaud.
Tina Papineau, who had been an outspoken critic of LCEMS operations in the past, offered her assessment of the current board and the direction it is taking to ensure professional and expeditious EMS response and service to all Lapeer County residents.
Lapeer County EMS rig available for viewing at local function. The authority is eyeing the opening of two new bases in the county.
"I really never had a problem with Lapeer EMS or its employees," said Papineau on Tuesday. "But there were some budgetary matters that had to be fixed or the service was in jeopardy. You can't operate on a negative budget.
"With the new director (Rumbold) and the passage of the millage, I'm very confident," she added. "Lapeer EMS employees have always done a good job. The service is a must for our residents."
Consultant is hired
Rumbold said that on January 19, the Board agreed to hire a per diem paid consultant, Bruce Smith, to scout and research possible locations for two new ambulance bases.
He said the Board is looking to establish an ambulance base in the Hadley-Metamora-Dryden area and another north of Goodland Township.
"Those are the goals," said Rumbold, who hopes one of those bases can be operational by late summer.
He added that Smith is also putting together a bid package for new ambulances.
The approved four-year millage is expected to raise about $10.8 million over the next four years.
Lapeer County EMS was formed in 1997, through a merger of the Lapeer Area Ambulance Service, North Branch Area Ambulance Service and the Imlay City Department of Public Safety.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.