By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
So far in 2008, 67 percent of the Morgan County patients picked up by National EMS—the medical services company that responds to local emergency 911 calls—have been transported to Morgan Memorial Hospital.
“A few years ago, those numbers were only at 50 percent,” said Huey Atkins, director of National EMS, in a report to Morgan County commissioners last week. “We had people asking us not to take them to Morgan Memorial—we just don’t hear that anymore.”
About 13 percent of National EMS’s local transports wind up at Athens Regional, seven percent at Newton Medical Center, four percent go to Walton Regional Medical Center, and three percent go to St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens. Three percent are life-flighted to regional trauma centers, one percent end up at Minnie G. Boswell hospital, and about four percent of patients are treated without transport.
According to Atkins, the average National EMS response time in Morgan County is about eight minutes; in calls that took longer than eight minutes, said Atkins, distance is almost always a factor.
Current rates for ambulance transport are $525, plus $11 per mile. Those rates sound steep until patients realize that the actual cost of the call before any profit is made hovers around $460, said Atkins. In addition, much of an EMS service’s profit is written off each year in service to customers who can’t pay.
“Ambulance services write off about 40-60 percent of the services that they provide each year,” said Atkins.
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Buckhead City Council members met in a work session Monday night with county Senior Planner Allison Moon and Planning and Development Director Chuck Jarrell to talk about possible upcoming changes to the city’s zoning ordinance.
“This is still a working draft,” said Moon.
The city’s current zoning ordinance was adopted in 1988, and county officials say it’s time for a review.
“The ordinance has been in place for 20 years…it’s time for an update,” said Moon.
The biggest proposed change to the ordinance is a reduction in the number of zoning classifications used in the city. Moon recommended the elimination of the city’s Manufacturing zone, as well as two higher-density residential classifications. The new ordinance could have five zones—Agricultural, Residential, Commercial 1, Commercial 2 and Public Use.
Moon said that she would advise the adoption of a single Residential classification because of the large number of lots within the city limits that have been developed at less than one acre.
“If you step back to a one-acre minimum, what you do is create a lot of non-conforming lots in the city,” said Moon. “That’s not a problem for the city…it does become a problem for citizens, if they’re trying to re-finance their property and they are dealing with a bank that won’t lend them money on a non-conforming lot,” said Moon.
Moon said that development in the town could be governed with creative design, as opposed to minimum lot sizes.
‘Bold’ initiative may begin next school year
By Kathryn Purcell
What is the cost of public education?
In Morgan County, the answer to that question is $8,382.33, or the average total expenditure per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Student, according to the Expenditure Report for Fiscal Year 2007 recently published by the Georgia Department of Education.
Compare that to the state average of $8,428.05 and the Northeast Georgia RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) average of $8,592.77.
"On average, Morgan County spends less than the state average, less than the RESA average per student," Morgan County Superintendent Stan DeJarnett said, in presenting the information to the Board of Education at their meeting Monday night. "And there is a significant range in our RESA."
Of the counties surrounding Morgan County, Greene, Walton and Oconee counties are also in the Northeast Georgia RESA. According to the report, published on the Georgia Department of Education's Web site, Greene County spent significantly more than Morgan County per FTE, $10,321.69, while Walton County came close to Morgan's total, spending $8,538.03. Oconee County spent almost $300 less per FTE than Morgan County, with a total of $8,094.84.
Of the other counties surrounding Morgan County, but not in the same RESA, Putnam County spent $9,695.99 per FTE; Jasper County, $8,400; and Newton County, $7,855.17.
Morgan County falls fairly square in the middle in regards to the average cost per FTE, with Greene, Putnam, Walton and Jasper counties spending more and Oconee and Newton counties spending less.
Detainees spread the gospel, hard truth at A.M.E.
story by Jessica Blomquist • photo by Angelina Bellebuono
Council considers adding ‘C–5’ zone to industrial palate