TURNER CO., GA (WALB) - Controversy is brewing in Turner County over the future of EMS Station Two on the city and county's west side.
County commissioners have proposed a budget that force staff cuts in the EMS department and permanently shut the station's doors.
Ashburn city leaders oppose that plan and are fighting to keep the station open.
"I think EMS is probably one of the most vital departments right now by the county lacking a hospital," said Ashburn city manager Sedric Carithers.
Carithers said he's following through with a promise he's made to keep the station open. He fought this same battle last year when a leaking roof closed the station temporarily.
He said the EMS station is crucial for residents living on the west side.
"That area should be just as much important as any area in the county," said Carithers.
Train tracks divide the city of Ashburn. Some residents are concerned a passing train could impede an ambulance coming from the east side EMS station and cause life-threatening delays for those living in the west side.
"Time is very crucial especially when someone is having a heart attack or stroke. So the faster you can get there. The faster you can save a life," said resident Jerry Lewis.
EMS director Robby Royal disagrees with issues over response times.
"I don't believe it's going to delay. No more than 30 seconds to a minute," said Royal.
"No one has ever passed away or gone unattended by Turner County EMS."
Royal said there are already situations when an ambulance is dispatched from station one to the west side. He believes the city will still be well served with one EMS station.
"It's not always east and west. It's what's best for the city and the county as a whole," said EMS director Robby Royal.
County commissioners will vote on the budget in July.
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