RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Every second counts during an emergency, but the Richmond Ambulance Authority said they may not have enough money to get to the scene in time.
The agency’s CEO, Chip Decker, told city council last night that already-delayed service calls are going to take even longer if they don’t get more funding than Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is proposing in the city’s budget.
Decker is pleading for $3.5 million more than Stoney has proposed, hoping to prevent situations like what happened last summer from happening again.
Captured on camera last summer, a pregnant woman waited over an hour for an ambulance in Richmond after a car crash on the southside.
“I’m a taxpayer who never realized that I’m paying taxes for things that don’t matter,” Latanya Thornton told 8News in June. “Something has to be done.”
Decker said staffing is part of the problem, saying the authority needs more money to keep employees with competitive salaries and to hire more. Plus, to cover the cost for people who may not be able to afford a ride to the hospital.
While RAA wants the money, Stoney’s office wants a review of the ambulance authority’s proposal.
“I need to be at the overdose, otherwise somebody’s going to die. I need to be at the shooting,” Decker told city council at a budget work session last night.
Councilwoman Reva Trammell was at the meeting too, highlighting the importance of making sure RAA is funded.
“Councilmembers need to find the money so that you can keep doing your job professionally,” Trammell said.
Council president Cynthia Newbille wants answers from the mayor’s office by Friday because council is expected to vote on a final budget by the end of next month.