Requests for increases in agreements with Marble Falls Area EMS and the Cottonwood Shores Volunteer Fire Department got very different receptions from the Cottonwood Shores City Council at its regular meeting Thursday, Aug. 5. The EMS contract was approved, while the fire department’s request was tabled for further discussion.
The fire department requested $45,000 be allocated in the 2021-22 city budget. Only $30,000 for the department has been written into the proposed budget. The increase is due to tripled insurance premiums, VFD officials told the city.
The tabled agreement will give the city and the volunteer department time to gather more information regarding adding the city of Cottonwood Shores on a certificate of insurance as the named insurer.
“We have three or four vendors with antennas on our water tower,” City Administrator J.C. Hughes said, “and every one of those certificates of insurance have Cottonwood Shores listed. Most insurance companies add you automatically.”
Councilor Roger Wayson encouraged volunteer fire department leaders to think about partnering with other entities for fundraisers. He noted the fish fries hosted by Blue Bonnet Cafe twice a year for the Marble Falls Area EMS that help pay for training, adding that Cottonwood Shores has restaurants that might be willing to offer a similar fundraiser.
Fire department secretary Jennifer Carr said she would love to develop partnerships to help offset expenses.
The Marble Falls Area EMS requested an additional $1,019 for a total of $30,194 for the next year. The new EMS contract ends Sept. 30, 2022.
From October 2020 to June 2021, EMS personnel responded to 105 calls in Cottonwood Shores. EMS leaders are projecting that number will rise to 118 calls during the new fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
“But if our number of calls (is) much higher, our costs would go up,” Hughes said.
The council is expected to adopt the 2021-22 fiscal budget and tax rate during an Aug. 26 special meeting.