‘Where will money go?’ is question on EMS building sale

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As the Switzerland County Commissioners continue their consideration of the purchase of the current Switzerland County EMS building on East Main Street as a new home for the new Switzerland County Emergency Response group; questions are being asked around the community about the possible purchase and where the money would go.

Marylee Tolbert, President of the Board of Directors of Switzerland County EMS, said that no one is going to personally benefit from the sale – because EMS is a not-for-profit, incorporated entity.

“We’re a corporation, so we can’t just give the money away,” Tolbert said. “But technically, we’re still in business, and we intent to stay in business. We’re running transports from local hospitals and nursing homes. We don’t have any plan to dissolve. We’re planning on staying in business.”

Like any other company, Switzerland County EMS has the right to sell its physical location and move somewhere else. But, should in the future the corporation decided to cease, Tolbert said that there are provisions that were spelled out when the organization was first incorporated that would direct any capital that EMS has.

“If the time ever came that we did dissolve, I think our by-laws say that the money would have to go to a ‘like entity’,” Tolbert said. “We’ve never really discussed what we would do. We’ve made mention before about doing something through the foundation or something like that; but we’ve never really had any serious discussions about that, because at this point, we’re still in business and plan on staying in business.”

So if the county purchases the current building, where will EMS go?

“That’s a decision we’ll have to make, because, really, we can run the transport business from anywhere; but we’ll have to find somewhere to house the ambulances. That’s something that we’ll have to look into; but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Because Switzerland County EMS is a corporate entity, there is a board of directors, which consists of Tolbert along with Dennis Cole and Lewis Fritter. All decisions regarding the current and future direction of EMS is solely in the hands of those directors.

“If it did come a time when we did dissolve, then at that time the board would decide what to do with the funds. It would be the board’s decision solely,” Tolbert said. “It’s the corporation’s money. It doesn’t belong to me. It doesn’t belong to Fritter. It doesn’t belong to the Sees. It belongs to the corporation.”

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The Switzerland County Commissioners will hold a meeting this Monday, August 15th, at 5 p.m. in its second regular session of the month; and immediately following that meeting, the Commissioners will hold a combined meeting with the Switzerland County Council to discuss the possible purchase. The county has had appraisals completed on the building, per state law regarding the purchase of property by a municipal entity; and the county has also had building inspections done as well as air quality tests to see if there is mold in the building.

The Commissioners are also considering constructing a new facility for Switzerland County Emergency Response, and have had a firm give them estimates on what a new building would cost.

Monday’s meetings will be held at the Switzerland County TEC Center, located on West Seminary Street near the fairgrounds. The meetings are open to the public.