Osage County commissioners decided last Thursday to pay up to $5,500 a month to ensure that ambulance service is maintained in the Fairfax area.


The vote was 3-0. Greg Rodecap, a deputy to District 2 Commissioner Kevin Paslay, sat in for Paslay and voted “yes” along with District 1 Commissioner Randall Jones and District 3 Commissioner Darren McKinney, who is board chairman.


The commissioners agreed to enter into an interlocal agreement with the town to provide the supplemental funding. Fairfax authorities are contracting with Miller EMS, the low bidder for the ambulance contract. The new agreement between Fairfax and Miller was to take effect Friday, March 1.


Miller was already the ambulance service provider for the Fairfax area, but the company increased its monthly rate from $7,500 to $13,000 to respond to cost pressures (particularly labor cost pressures) and to break even in the Fairfax area market. Town officials told the county they could not pay the increase.


District Attorney Mike Fisher told commissioners last Thursday morning that his office had determined the county could enter into an interlocal agreement with Fairfax.


Jones asked how long the county will be providing this assistance to Fairfax, and McKinney said the vote Thursday would cover the rest of the county fiscal year, through June 30. McKinney added he is sure the town will take over paying all or part of the $5,500 as soon as it can.


Matt Miller, owner of Miller EMS, thanked the commissioners for hearing Fairfax’s plea for assistance, and for addressing the need. Jim Koch, director of Business Development for Miller EMS, particularly thanked Jones for asking detailed questions that led company officials to provide members of the county board with information they needed in order to act.


The county commissioners were scheduled to examine a copy of an interlocal agreement document March 4, and potentially approve it, but the document was not yet available and the discussion was tabled.