Snow Hill EMS, Greene Co., in funding dispute that could result in bankruptcy

SNOW HILL, N.C. (WNCT) - There is budget feud going on between Greene County and Snow Hill EMS. It centers around transport fees collected by Snow Hill EMS.

In the past, Snow Hill has been able to keep 100 percent of those funds, allowing them to purchase a more than $100,000 ambulance in March 2016. But recently, the Greene County Commissioners changed that to 75 percent, with the county taking the other 25 percent.

"I feel that they're more pressuring us to go out of business so they can take our income and put it in their pocket," said Snow Hill EMS Chief Steve Gilbert.

But Greene County Manager Kyle DeHaven sees it differently.

"When you take into account billing and personnel time the county had to justify it's contribution to the volunteer units," DeHaven said. "That just made more dollars and sense."

But Gilbert said that 25 percent results in a loss of around $60,000 to $70,000 a year. That's a loss his department can't sustain as a non-profit made up primarily of volunteers.

"All this equipment, every piece of equipment in this ambulance, is purchased with the funding that we get from our transports," he said.

Gilbert is trying to work out a deal with the county to change the split from 75-25 to 85-15. He said without that added money, Snow Hill EMS could shut down as early as September.

If that were to happen, DeHaven said the county is prepared to step up and provide better service, possibly adding an additional ambulance. But Gilbert is skeptical about that plan.

"We already have staffing issues now, they can't cover the northern part of the county. I feel like they're really not working together with us," he said.

Currently, Greene County operates two ambulances.

Commissioners and the EMS squad are looking to come to a final decision by mid-August.

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