Council approves interlocal agreements with WilCo for EMS
Georgetown City Council approved three agreements with Williamson County that outline how the two entities will together and where they will provide emergency medical services.
The agreements, approved Aug. 25 by council, must now be approved by the Williamson County Commissioners Court, which is expected to consider the item during its Sept. 1 meeting.
The city will deploy its EMS service Oct. 1. According to the interlocal agreement, the city will continue to provide fire and medical service within the city limits and Emergency Services District 8, which encompasses most of the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ—the unincorporated area around the city limits that the city reserves the right to annex. The county will provide service in the portions of the ETJ outside the ESD 8 boundaries, such as the Cimarron Hills community, Fire Chief John Sullivan said.
Both organizations are licensed by the state to provide EMS in the city limits as well as the ETJ, he said.
“When we have an existing overlap, we’re saying this is where it makes sense to send these resources,” Sullivan said. “That agreement also contemplates there is some mutual provision of some sort, because we want to make sure that if we are close, we are still there to help.”
The council also approved a mutual assistance agreement that says in the event of an emergency inside the city’s service territory, the county could be called to assist when the city is temporarily unable to provide its own medical services and the county has available resources. The agreement would also call for the city to assist with emergencies when needed outside of its service territory.
The third agreement establishes rates as well as billing and invoice payment processes for the city to provide service to the Williamson County Jail, which is located in downtown Georgetown.
The agreements come after months of back-and-forth discussions between the city and county after City Council approved Georgetown’s EMS program during its March 24 meeting. The council had first approved a fire-based paramedic program in the fiscal year 2014-15 budget.
“I am very encouraged with the direction we are moving. As one of the agreements refers, this is intended to be cooperative,” Sullivan said. “What you are seeing now is actually pen being put to paper to formalize this process that we’ve been talking about over a year ago. Come Oct. 1 we are trying to work toward a seamless transition so that really takes the guess work out of it.”