Fight Over Funding Leads to Changes in CARS Services

UPDATE January 30, 2013

C-ARS Chief Michael Berg Released a statement saying, “It makes no sense for C-ARS to continue regular transport service in the county under those conditions, especially when our service area also includes Charlottesville and the University of Virginia."
January 29, 2012

Albemarle County officials and the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad can't agree on how to recover costs for their services. As a result, the county will be removing two of its paid employees out of the CARS station on McIntire Road and relocating them to work out of the Seminole Trail fire station.

"We are going to take the current ambulance that we have stationed at CARS on McIntire and move it up to 29 north which is where the biggest majority of calls in the county come from," said County Supervisor Ken Boyd.

But the move isn't purely motivated by expansion needs, it's also about money. Moving personnel to the Seminole Trail fire house will allow Albemarle County to recover more revenue by charging for ambulance rides.

But losing two people at the McIntire station will handicap CARS. The organization operates largely on donations and CARS President, Mike Berg, said a revenue sharing formula proposed by the county wasn't found to be acceptable. That's what sparked the county's decision to move its employees to the Seminole Trail station.

In response, Berg sent a letter to Albemarle County Fire Chief Dan Eggleston, saying CARS will no longer make ambulance runs to county residents during weekday hours. The organization says it will focus on needs in the city of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.

Eggleston says the decisions will force the county to "shift our resources" but he says he is open to future discussions, and "wants to maintain a good relationship with CARS".

Supervisors are concerned about the fifty year partnership between CARS and the county.

"We have had a very good relationship with CARS for many years," said Boyd. "We are the only people who have funded them outside of private donations-we're the only government agency that funds them. I'm a little concerned that there is some uneasiness there and I hope we can resolve any differences and move forward and work together."

Berg also says he hopes to maintain a working relationship with the county. The changes go into effect February 4, 2013. CARS will continue making rescue calls to county residents on weeknights and holidays.

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