By Rich Wicks | Times Vedette

During the regular meeting of the Panora city council on Feb. 12, one of the main topics was the agreement between Panora EMS and the city of Audubon.

The council had a discussion about the Audubon Ambulance and Health Care Transportation Services Agreement. Through this agreement, Panora EMS helps Audubon by transporting patients when able. The trips often involve transporting a patient from Audubon to Omaha, although sometimes the patient is going to a different destination, such as Des Moines. 

“It’s been about 15 months since we started with Audubon, and we are having trouble maintaining staff for that,” Panora EMS Director John DeLavergne said.

DeLavergne said it appears that Panora EMS staff are less likely to pick up shifts because they do not like to go to Audubon. He added that, on average, the Audubon trips create a roughly four-hour timespan in which Panora EMS may be unable to adequately respond to local needs.

DeLavergne’s suggested to alter the agreement so that when a call came in from Audubon requesting transportation, Panora EMS would check for availability of two staff members to meet the request, and then Audubon would be promptly told whether or not Panora could respond.

The city council did not take formal action on the issue at this time, but Mayor Thornberry asked DeLavergne to reach out to Paul Topliff, chief clinical officer of Audubon County Hospital, and discuss the issue, present the proposal, and see if other options could be considered.

Susanne Gerlach of Public Financial Management, Inc. provided the council an update on the city’s finances.

City Administrator Lisa Grossman went over the proposed FY25 budget numbers with the highlight being a proposal to lower the tax levy by $0.33 from $17.38 to $17.05, which she said would be the lowest rate in more than eight years.  

The next regular meeting of the city council will be Feb. 26. Interested persons may attend in person or electronically by visiting the website or by phone 1-312-757-3121 (Access Code 295-099-701, Audio PIN 220#).