Pendleton - The Pendleton Town Council met for a special meeting Friday, Dec. 13, to hear a preliminary presentation on possible changes to the ambulance contract.
Fire Chief Danny Gardner was on hand to present the contract and answer questions for the board.
“I’ve always said that one of these days we were going to be here asking for money for the EMS service,” Gardner said. “Unfortunately, that’s where we are now. We’re having trouble with the retention of paramedics. I can’t blame them at all; this is all about the money.”
Gardner said the volunteer-based paramedic program, which started in 2002 and offers advanced life support, is having issues sustaining itself because salaried positions are being offered to the highly trained medics.
“It’s getting harder and harder to retain our medics,” Gardner said. “They’re having to turn away $15-to-$20-an-hour jobs to stay here. I hate to say that, but these guys want and need to make money. The growing pains are finally here; the time has come.”