Last week it was reported that Sanpete County along with the cities and towns of Sanpete have received or are eligible to receive money from the CARES Act for COVID response. Sanpete County had received $2.08 million. Cities had received much less, but still a substantial amount considering their budgets.
It was reported that Sanpete County would spend the money on grants to businesses affected by the economic slowdown due to COVID. The cities had either not reported or were largely unsure of how to spend the money.
While I find it commendable that the County would give grants to affected businesses, I find it highly offensive that the County and the cities have not reached out to offer assistance to the one public service that no one pays for—Emergency Medical Service (EMS). No other public service has been affected more than EMS, yet the County and cities do nothing to support EMS. No tax dollars go to support EMS in Sanpete, none.
So when the County and cities get extra money related to COVID, you’d think they would turn around and give some of it to help local EMS agencies deal with their response, but you would be wrong. It does not matter that they transport patients with COVID and put themselves at risk. It does not matter that EMS providers have been infected by COVID. It does not matter that the budgets of EMS have been affected.
It just does not matter to the politicians of this County because they seem to just not care. Sanpete EMS leaders knew the County was receiving this money in advance and reached out to the Sanpete County Commission, they were ignored. This is unacceptable.
No one wants to ever need an ambulance, but everyone expects one to respond if they do. Who do you think ensures that an ambulance is there for you? It is dedicated men and women who spend countless hours training and waiting to respond only to put themselves at risk, for you. These EMTs and paramedics donate the equivalent of millions of dollars in labor every year, millions of dollars that you, the taxpayer, does not have to pay for. The least the County and cities could do when presented with extra money for COVID is to give some to EMS. Or maybe it is time for you to just start paying taxes for it.
Tracy Braithwaite, paramedic