GROVETON, Texas (KTRE) - Negotiations between Trinity County and Groveton EMS to cover the unincorporated areas of the County are complete after Tuesday’s Trinity County Commissioners Court, according to Groveton Mayor Byron Richards and Groveton EMS Administrator David Robison.
“They gave us a seven-year contract which is something we really needed to have in order to help qualify for grants and loans,” Robison said.
Robison says they will now receive $1,500 a month from Trinity County.
Now, the attention turns to the ongoing negotiations between Groveton EMS and the City. Richards says the City typically waits and follows the county’s lead with contracts.
“We’re probably looking at a term of probably five to seven years on the contract in the amount of $1,500 a month which is basically a stipend for them to help with their operational costs,” Richards said. “There will be a provision in there where if either one of us decides to end the contract the other party will be given a 90-day notice.”
According to the Groveton City Council’s minutes, at the September City Council meeting, the Council voted to suspend the monthly donation to the Groveton EMS until Robison’s property on 210 West Second Street in Groveton was cleaned up.
In June 2018, that property was a total loss from a fire, which according to a KTRE article from last year housed Robison’s ambulance service business and home.
According to City Council, a public hearing was held in August 2019, and the council had given Robison until December 2019 to clean up the property from the debris.
During the September 2020 City Council Meeting, Richards said that had not been done.
“Yes, we’ve had ongoing discussions about Groveton EMS about one of their properties,” Richards said. “We’re trying to begin after a long term of years with a lot of property with absentee ownership, the property is deteriorated, or not kept up. We’re trying to make an effort to clean up the town to make it more appealing.”
“There should be no reason why my lot, my old property should affect the ambulance service in any way, shape, or form,” Robison said. Richards said Thursday, the property would not affect negotiations for the proposed contract between the ambulance service and city.
“No, his contract will be executed per the same way the County’s contract will be executed,” Richards said.
According to the City Council minutes in October, the council voted to reinstate the $1,000 donation that was suspended in September.
“The budget was set at 1,000 a month,” Richards said. “Budgets can be adjusted during the year. You just have to go back and make an amendment, and I’m sure we’ll probably make an amendment to our budget for the additional money if that’s the way it works out.”
“COVID-19 have dramatically increased our costs and reduced our revenue,” Robison said. We haven’t stopped running calls, but we’re running far fewer calls. People don’t want to be transported. The only way we get paid is by a transport."
During last month’s meeting, the Council agreed to review and negotiate a new contract and asked for a financial report from Robison to be submitted.
Robison says Groveton EMS is a privately owned company.
“I will happily discuss finances with the Mayor and City Council privately, but I do not feel our records are for public dissemination,” Robison said.
Both sides say they hope to come to a deal soon.
We’ve always supported our ambulance service," Richards said. “We know that this service is needed. We want our people to have emergency services. Sometimes people have different ideas of how things are going to be done and a lot of that was this. I definitely think it’ll be finalized in the month of November.”
“I absolutely want to thank all of our supporters,” Robison said. “This is about to be over with. I certainly hope so. We’re very much looking forward to having this drama behind us, but we’ve got to have some help. We appreciate what the County has done and hope the City follows suit.”
The next Groveton City Council meeting is scheduled for November 23rd.