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City approves $20,000 for ambulance company

March 14, 2001

City approves $20,000 for ambulance company



BY DAN KULIN

dank@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a $20,000 grant to Community Rescue Service, and will ask the Washington County Commissioners to match that contribution to the financially troubled ambulance company.

CRS had asked the city for $400,000, which included $200,000 to cover annual operating expenses and $200,000 for a fund to pay for new ambulances and other equipment. CRS interim Director J. Michael Nye said the $200,000 for operating expenses is what's needed now.

The council also supported formation of a joint city-county committee to "evaluate the financial conditions of CRS and determine the level and nature of any future city and county funding or other support to CRS operations," according to the council motion voted on Tuesday.

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Last week, when they agreed to give CRS $20,000, council members instructed City Finance Director Al Martin to look into other ways the city might be able to help CRS. Possibilities included refinancing CRS loans to eliminate interest charges, waiving city utility bills, and guaranteeing a line of credit so CRS officials wouldn't have to wait until they were paid for services to pay their own bills.

The $20,000 is the first city cash donation to CRS, but not the first time the city has helped the ambulance company. About five years ago the city gave CRS the land on Eastern Boulevard for the CRS headquarters. Nye said the land was worth $200,000 to $300,000.

CRS, a private, nonprofit ambulance company, serves about 34,000 homes in Hagerstown and parts of the surrounding area.

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