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Ehrhardt Town Council gets heated Print E-mail
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

After listening to a heated barrage from a local backer of an ambulance service for the Town of Ehrhardt, cooler heads were later able to prevail. And, after hearing from a representative of the company, Ehrhardt Town Council members voted to grant an Orangeburg County-based ambulance service use of a town owned trailer, with the understanding they may have to relocate if a proposed health clinic comes to town.

“I need an answer and I need it now. Is Ehrhardt going to do something to get that ambulance here or not?” I need the answer right now folks,” Frank Broadman, who has been a strong proponent of an ambulance service for the town of Ehrhardt said at council’s Tuesday night meeting. Broadman noted that he bought Gina Ayers and Jason Marchant of Bowman, South Carolina-based Pendarvis Ambulance Service, to the meeting with him to explain the proposed service.

Ehrhardt Town Council Mayor Pro Tem Bill Edinger told Broadman he needed to tone his voice down. “Frank if you talk like that you need to go outside the door,” Edinger said. Broadman interrupting Edinger replied, "Ok, we’ll leave, you understand me? These people [Ayers and Marchant] have put in a lot of time and a lot of effort and all I’ve heard from you is one lie after another.” "No one’s lied to you,” Edinger replied, later noting that Broadman came to council earlier about adopting the trailer that the town was considering using as a medical clinic in.

Broadman for his part said, “You said you want to get a service for these people in this building [town hall] and now you give me a blank look. Do you want an ambulance in Ehrhardt or don’t you sir,” Broadman asked. “If you want to use that attitude, no,” Edinger replied. At that time, Broadman stormed out of the meeting throwing a piece of paper on the meeting table.

When emotions calmed down, Broadman, along with Marchant and Ayer came back into the meeting with Chief of Public Safety Chad Dilling. Marchant explained to council members what Pendarvis Ambulance Service was proposing to do. Marchant noted that Pendarvis wanted to come to Ehrhardt “immediately.” He stated that the company didn’t want to “take over” Bamberg’s 911 service. “We want to do what we can to help them when it comes to people here in town.”

Marchant said their truck would be available on a 24/7 basis to go the hospital in Colleton or Orangeburg County. “Where ever [the patient wants] to go as long as their condition is stabilized,” he said. He noted their ambulance service is “not bound to go to the closest facility,” but rather “the closest appropriate facility.”

Mayor Bill Stanley wanted to know what the bottom line was in getting the ambulance service to Ehrhardt. “In a nutshell what are you asking this Council to do,” Mayor Stanley asked. Marchant stated the company was asking the town to provide “us a place to set up” that provided “basic” utilities. Marchant noted the ambulance service could come in “immediately” and could look at paying the basic utilities cost to the town.

Council member Amy Lee noted that she thought having an ambulance service was “awesome” for the town, a “win-win” situation. Council member Bennie Hughes wanted to know what it would take to get the building ready for the ambulance service, noting “it sounds good to me.” Hughes said he hoped the town could get the health clinic, “but this would be the second best thing.”

Also during the meeting Public Safety Chief Chad Dilling reported the fire department responded to three fire calls during the month. Chief Dilling reported a busy month in the police department, with the department creating 11 case files for the month.

Public Works Commissioner Freddie Copeland reported collections for July in the water department amounted to $14,602.70, with 12 customers’ cutoff for non-payment of water bills. Collections to-date in August amounted to $11,888.42. Town Administrator Kathie Stroman noted in the town’s financial report for the six week period July 1-August 21, “Everything seems to be on track. She noted that fines and expenses were higher related to income. And expenses were higher in that they included expenses for the town’s audit.

In an update on the proposed health clinic in the town Council member Edinger said he spoke with Orangeburg Health Clinic Director Leon Brunson, who noted he was waiting for a grant to be released this fall. Edinger noted it has been a year since the grant was in the works and he said the town needed the clinic even more now since the Bamberg County Hospital closed.

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