EFFINGHAM — The Effingham County Board in a 5-2 vote Tuesday afternoon chose RuralMed as the county’s next 911 ambulance provider.

Board members Norbert Soltwedel, Joe Thoele, Rob Arnold, David Campbell and Heather Mumma voted in favor of awarding the request for proposal to RuralMed while John Perry and Doug McCain dissented. Elizabeth Huston abstained. Huston, her husband and several other investors are co-owners of the new A-1 Emergency Medical Services of Altamont.

RuralMed was the 911 ambulance provider recommended by the Ambulance Oversight Committee after months of evaluation and consideration of three ambulance companies that included Lakeside EMS and the county’s current provider, Abbot EMS. Now that the request for proposal has been awarded, a final contract can be negotiated between the county and RuralMed.

A prior motion to table the RFP award was made by Perry, who wants to have more than one 911 ground ambulance provider in the county. The vote failed with Mumma, Soltwedel, Thoele, Arnold and Campbell opposed to tabling it. Several employees of Abbott EMS during public comments asked board members to reconsider awarding the RFP to RuralMed, asking them to instead consider multiple ambulance providers rather than award a contract to just one.

RuralMed has 60 days to fulfill obligations required by the county, including approval to operate in Illinois Department of Public Health Region 6 that includes Effingham County.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved an amendment to the ordinance setting the per diem rate for county board members by adding an underlined and highlighted sentence that says “All per diem and mileage times must be submitted within 60 days.”
  • Passed a resolution honoring Jeff Suckow, who recently retired after 27 years of service with the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Approved a proclamation declaring Effingham County School Choice Week Sunday, Jan. 23, through Saturday, Jan. 29.
  • Approved the structure of a Child Care Committee.
  • Approved the reappointment of Norma Lansing to the Economic Development Board for a term starting Jan. 18 through Sept. 30, 2023.
  • Approved the GIS (Geographic Information System) data fee schedule. The fee schedule and availability would go into effect starting Dec. 1. The fees include printed map products with a combination of layers such as aerial image, tax parcel lines, Cadastral Linework and annotation; existing GIS layers (road, address, flood, district boundaries) 8.5-by-11 inches $3; 11-by-17 inches $5; 24-by-36 inches $15; and 36-by-36 inches $30. Custom map work including analysis and map design will be $50 per hour (half-hour minimum). Tax parcel data will be available in ESRI shapefile format with all attribute data at 25 cents per parcel or $3,000 for the entire county. Tax parcel custom work is also available. Digital aerial imagery orthophotos will also be available in MrSID format. Coverage area and rates vary in size and resolution quality.
  • Approved a funding request from the Effingham City/County Committee on Aging in the amount of $15,000.
  • Approved transferring $95,000 from the Contingency Fund to the Effingham County Capital Improvement, Repair or Replacement fund. Upcoming projects for capital improvement are radios for the jail, control software for jail computers, cooling towers and roofs on the county building. Prior to the transfer, the balance in the fund was $53,778.
  • Approved an amendment ordinance to adopt a salary schedule for fiscal year 2022 for Effingham County non-union employees.
  • Approved an increased mileage rate reimbursement amount for fiscal year 2022 from 56 cents to 58.5 cents.
  • Approved the release of closed session minutes from the July 12, 2021, Effingham County Reports Committee; closed minutes from the Oct. 13, 2021, Legislative/Personnel Committee meeting regarding personnel negotiations; and minutes from the Nov. 15 regular Effingham County Board meeting in regards to personnel.
  • Approved a bridge aid agreement located along 500th Avenue in Mason Township. Effingham County Engineer Greg Koester said a box culvert failed and the road is currently closed. He said the total estimated cost of the project would be $28,000 with the county covering 50% of the cost from the bridge fund.
  • Approved a bridge aid agreement on St. Francis Township Road at 1800th Street just East of the K & N Subdivision in Teutopolis. Koester said the total estimated cost of the St. Francis project is $15,000 with the county covering 50% of the replacement cost from the bridge fund.
  • Approved a local agency agreement for federal participation for the Bishop Church Bridge located on 1000th Avenue West of Bishop Church. The total estimated cost is $900,000 with federal funds paying $720,000 and the remainder paid by the county. Koester said they hope to have the project completed this year. He said the federal funds will come from annual infrastructure money the county gets for roads and bridges.

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

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Charles Mills is reporter and videographer for the Effingham Daily News. A 1983 graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, he worked as senior video editor for a Nashville television station. He is a native of Vandalia.