BOS says no to funding squad

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 7, 2022

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The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) held a special called meeting on Wednesday, Mar. 30, to appropriate more funds to the county’s rescue to help the financially troubled organization get back on its feet.

However, following a closed session meeting, a motion was made by Supervisor Butch Hamlett to not appropriate the funds after learning rescue squad members voted to give themselves a raise.

According to county documents, the BOS was set to appropriate $60,000.

This amount was funds the board voted to approve during the Mar. 14 meeting but was not appropriated.

In February, the BOS approved additional funding of $50,000.

Following the vote, no further discussion was held as to why the appropriation was not approved.

When asked, County Administrator Dan Witt said the BOS is seeking more oversight and accountability before it plans to give more money to the squad.

“It was reported to the BOS that the rescue squad voted on Monday evening (Mar. 28) to give themselves a $2 an hour raise,” Witt said. “That may have had an impact on their decision.”

Trouble began for the rescue squad in February when then captain Bill Mayhew addressed the board asking for $50,000 to $80,000 in additional funding.

According to documents from the rescue squad provided to the BOS, the squad’s 2021 operating budget was listed at $963,900.00 with over $1 million in expenses. Included in their budget was over $200,000 in a PPP Loan.

Documents show the squad in the red for over $200,000.

In addition, Mayhew said to run three crews a day, five days a week, and two crews on the weekend; CCRS spends $12,600 a week on salaries, with members working anywhere from 48 to 60 hours a week.

County officials said currently there are 14 paid staff members and six volunteers; however, four of the six received stipends when they responded to a call.

Since the February meeting, several CCRS members have resigned, including Mayhew and CCRS President Phillip Staten.

Witt said the board’s public safety committee is working to have a new board appointed for the rescue squad and an executive committee to provide oversight.

On Friday afternoon, when questioned, Witt said that since the squad meeting on Monday, March 28, several of the members, including the newly elected Captain Matthew LaMotte, have rethought their decision, and are not intending to implement the $2 per hour raise at this time.

“This was a wise decision,” Witt said.