STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- For years, Starkville, along with Oktibbeha County and Mississippi State University, has paid an annual amount to OCH Regional Medical Center for ambulance services.
But this year, Starkville has decided to cut that expenditure from its budget due to the loss of a grant that historically covered the ambulance costs.
"We discovered that we lost that grant funding. As a result, that bit of information gave the budget and audit comittee a reason to step back and look at that particular line item in the budget," said Starkville Alderwoman Sandra Sistrunk.
The board had already paid $10,000 of the usual $40,000 for ambulance services.
City officials said the funding cut for ambulance services is only for this year and not a permanent cut.
"The driving factor was the loss of the grant, but it also gave us an opportunity to look at ways that we're supporting the hospital and whether this is the best use...of taxpayer dollars," said Sistrunk.
Sistrunk said that she made sure the hospital knew the funding cut was a possiblity and would be going before the board for a vote last week.
"The mayor did visit with the CEO of the hospital. And they did not send anyone from the hospital to the meeting, and I have also not been directly contacted by the hospital saying that this is a crisis. If so, we would revisit that," added Sistrunk.
Sistrunk said she doesn't believe cutting this expenditure will affect the hospital or people needing emergency help.
She added that Starkville's first responders are the fire department and the ambulance service is a billed service through the hospital.