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El Paso County could ask communities to pay for ambulance service
By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO COUNTY, Texas -- El Paso County could ask growing cities like Socorro and Horizon City to help pay for Life Ambulance services. El Paso County Commissioner Vince Perez said Life Ambulance has served the county since the 1980s.
"Socorro is a city of about 30,000, Horizon City has about 20,000, and the county is still providing emergency services," Perez said.
Perez said the county is discussing renewing its contract with Life Ambulance, and once that happens, the county could approach cities to contribute. Right now, Perez said the county is paying about $34,000 a month.
Socorro Mayor Jesus Ruiz said the City Council would have to approve the county's proposal.
"If they ask us, it would definitely have to be through a budget amendment or we would have to wait until the next fiscal year because we already approved our budget for this coming year. It would be very hard for us to find additional money now," Ruiz said.
Some Socorro residents told KFOX14 the city should pay any cost to retain an ambulance service.
"Every penny is worth the medical services around here. I wouldn't mind paying more taxes. There's always somebody needing medical services around here. I myself suffered a heart attack," Socorro resident Ray Alejo said.
Horizon City Mayor Walter Miller said he has not been approached either, and it could be difficult for his city to pay for the service.
"There's never extra money in the budget. That's not to say we won't cooperate with the county. However, we have not budgeted for that in the past and we don't have it in the current budget," Miller said.