Explore New EMS Options

Martins Ferry officials are right to be exploring new options for emergency medical service in the city. If a better, cheaper way of providing it can be found, good.

If anything, results of such an investigation could come in handy if and when voters are asked again to approve a tax levy for the city-run Emergency Medical Service.

Such a levy was on the ballot Tuesday. It was intended to raise $180,000 a year. Voters rejected the proposal decisively, by a vote of 981-770.

After the result became known, Mayor Robert Krajnyak said it is possible the measure could be put to voters again, perhaps next May. He speculated that voters may not have understood how important the additional funds are to the EMS.

“If we can’t afford to keep it intact, we may have to shut it down and move forward in another direction,” Krajnyak said. Members of City Council’s safety committee will begin looking at the situation “from top to bottom,” the mayor added.

While the situation is being considered, council may have to supplement EMS funding, Krajnyak noted.

Krajnyak cited two possible changes from the current system. One would involve contracting with an outside provider for emergency ambulance service. Another possibility is an ambulance service operated by East Ohio Regional Hospital.

Krajnyak may be correct in thinking a more intensive public information campaign would change enough voters’ minds to gain passage of the levy. Part of that initiative could be presenting options, including pros and cons, to the public.

And if a ambulance service can be provided better and more economically — for all concerned, including those who require emergency transport — why not make the change?

The bottom line needs to be ensuring Martins Ferry residents get good public service, after all — not retaining it as a local government operation.