Study gets county's nod amid reported fears from north
Delaware County commissioners had a donnybrook of a discussion Thursday, Aug. 30, about whether to apply for a state grant to study the delivery and funding of emergency medical services in the county.
Delaware City Manager Tom Homan spoke briefly in favor of the study and requested the county become the lead applicant for a state Innovation Grant.
"We think it's a good idea to take advantage of the grant program," he said. "We don't think there's a lot of downside to looking at how something is done, how something is funded."
But there proved to be something of a county Civil War, the north's more-rural townships and municipalities worrying that potential changes would shift EMS funding from the north to the south's more-urban townships and municipalities.
"If the headlines, the reports coming out of this room say the commissioners are wanting to take services away from the northern half of the county and to increase services in the southern half of the county, well, that myth has to stop," Commissioner Dennis Stapleton said.
"That's not what this discussion is about."
The northern townships and municipalities were asked several months ago to sign off on the Innovation Grant, Commissioner Ken O'Brien said.
"Delaware City is the only entity to pass a resolution in favor of this," he said. "Not a single township or municipality in the northern two-thirds of the county passed a similar resolution. Zero. If they had been in favor of a study, then I would be in favor of a study.
"I'm not inclined to waste (Ohio) taxpayer money on a study that's going to confirm that we have the best system in the state."
Stapleton said he had no intention, regardless of the result of a study, "to change service."
But O'Brien countered, "If it isn't taking money from the north of the county, then where is the money coming from? I want clarity. I want an answer."
The commission eventually approved a resolution to become the lead applicant for an Innovation Grant by a 2-1 vote.
"I want to repeat that residents in Delaware should have absolutely no fear, especially in the north of the county, that their EMS service will change," Stapleton said. "To say otherwise is wrong."
O'Brien replied, "But that doesn't make any sense, if what you're studying is delivery and the study recommends a change, then to say you're not going to make any changes."