Piedmont Residents Soon to Be Covered For Emergency Flights

Air EvacPiedmont residents can rest easy knowing that emergency helicopter flights will soon be covered, at no cost to residents, thanks to action taken by the Piedmont City Council.

During last night’s meeting, the council voted unanimously contract with Air Evac to provide the service at a cost of $17,301 per year to the city. Piedmont will become the first city in Calhoun County to do so.

Tammy Meeks, a representative of Air Evac, first presented the council with an opportunity to add join the company’s municipal site plan at the previous meeting. The cost at that time was approximately $19,000. With the lower estimate, the city will now be able afford the service. Mayor Bill Baker said the money will come from the general fund.

The plan will cover Piedmont residents for air transport for any emergency that originates inside Calhoun County. Even residents without insurance will be covered under plan. For an additional $35 per household per year, residents may choose to upgrade their coverage to include flights made from any of the 32 states in which Air Evac operates.

According to Meeks, Air Evac made 15 flights from Piedmont in 2015. She added that the national average cost is about $25,000 per flight.

In other business, the council, voted to allow Fire Chief Mike Ledbetter to take out a $160,000 loan from Noble Bank for the purchase of two used fire trucks. The 6-month loan will carry an interest rate of 4-percent and will be paid off using the department’s fire tax and the sale of the department’s old trucks.

The council also approved an ordinance concerning the financing of a new sewer truck.

Bills for payment were approved in the amount of 333,827.54 in addition to a payroll amount of $112,996.34 for a total of $445,823.88.

Local resident, Terry Studdard finally convinced the council to de-annex his rural property from the city in a 4 to 2 vote. The council voted originally denied his request last November.

After failing to receive a unanimous vote, the council will again vote at the next meeting to declare a parcel of land surplus. At that point, a majority vote is all that will be needed to open the Centre Avenue and Church Street property up for bid.

The next regular Piedmont City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd, at 6 pm.

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