Junction City officials have sent a message to Geary County, telling them to pay their bills for EMS services or face discontinuation of ambulance services in the county.

The city commission approved a motion Tuesday night from Commissioner Jeff Underhill outlining that EMS services due in 2023 are paid in full by Feb. 16, with the county then billed at $165,000 a month for 2024 until a permanent contract is put in place.

“We’re not a partnership in this. We provide a service to the county. We provide a bill, they provide payment. That’s all the further the partnership goes.

Underhill says if this can’t be agreed on by Geary County, the city will discontinue service outside the city limits on Feb. 20, as has been stated by the city at past meetings.

“That gives everybody more than enough time to fix their agreements and come up with something or continue to operate at the 165 (thousand) per month because that’s what we budgeted on our side at the city to operate the fire and EMS services — $2 million. Like we all agree, they need to pay their bills. I don’t want to discontinue service, but last time I made a motion like this they came up with a check in four days. Hopefully they can do it again,” he said.

City Manager Allen Dinkel told commissioners that he instructed Geary County that $2 million would be needed to cover the city’s expenses, but the county only budgeted $1.5 million.

“I feel our numbers are fair. I feel they’re accurate. The big thing was interpretation. As (Geary County) Commissioner (Trish) Giordano has said that they didn’t know they were paying that way, but we’ve been doing it for at least six years probably, if not longer. Before that there were other methods where they split it out too,” he said.

Junction City Mayor Pat Landes noted he believes the city is providing “an amazing value” to Junction City and Geary County residents.

“Good luck getting any other EMS service to come out to Junction City, Kansas and provide that service for the whole county for less than $3 million. We already have the equipment. If you started from fresh or even if somebody else billed it from Topeka or Wichita or whatever, they can’t find ambulances. We can’t find ambulances to buy, to put in service,” he said.

The motion was approved by four of the five commissioners, with Richard Pinaire abstaining.

The agenda packet is available below. Details of the EMS discussions start on page 107. A resolution from Geary County is included on page 110.

01-16-2024 City Commission Meeting Agenda Packet


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