Council members sponsor budget amendment to add ATCEMS ambulances, staff

Austin
ATCEMS Lake Travis Fire Rescue

(KXAN/Erin Cargile)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council member Alison Alter introduced a fiscal year 2021 budget amendment to allocate more money to Austin-Travis County EMS.

Alter tweeted her plan July 28, saying she made the amendment for “much-needed resources for ATC EMS.”

The amendment, co-sponsored by council members Paige Ellis, Natasha Harper-Madison, Kathie Tovo and Leslie Pool, calls for two new 24-hour ambulances and 12 full-time employees to operate them. One of them would go online in October 2020, the other in January 2021.

Total costs for two ambulances, related equipment and uniforms is $954,376, according to the amendment, and salaries for the crews to operate the ambulances range from approximately $849,000 to $1.1 million.

The plan also calls for added staff to the COVID-19 paramedic consult line, communications specialists and new field commanders. In total, 41 new full-time jobs would be created for ATCEMS, and the entire cost would be about $4.9 million.

In July, the Austin EMS Association said they were worried there weren’t enough ambulances available for the surge in calls related to COVID-19. Alter said this amendment is in direct response to those concerns.

Ellis also tweeted about the plan, saying “Our paramedics are frontline heroes in our community, putting themselves at risk to keep us well.”

Th city held two public input meetings on the proposed budget July 23 and 30, and the city council has its second workshop Tuesday. Public hearings and budget adoption proceedings start Aug. 12.

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