City Council members gathered at the Paintsville Recreational Center on Feb. 10 for their regularly scheduled meeting to discuss varying topics of business, such as the designation of Mayor Bill Mike Runyon as the applicant agent for the Paintsville Utilities Generator Project, as well as to approve and authorize an assistance agreement with the Kentucky Rural Water Finance Corporation.

During this meeting, city council members discussed the current financial situation of the Fire, Rescue, and Ambulance service.

Council Member Rick Preston called for Paintsville Fire Chief Rick Ratliff and Director of Paintsville/Johnson County EMS Gary McClure to present cost-cutting ideas from themselves and their employees at the next council meeting as to why the departments have lost money and how the problems may be solved.

“I personally think 911 can be fixed. We just have to get some cooperation,” said Paintsville Mayor Bill Mike Runyon.

Council Member Sara Blair added that, while the services are needed, they must be run in a cost-effective manner.

“You know, those are such essential services, they’re all essential services, and we need them desperately but we need them at the best cost that we can get them,” Blair said.

Council Member Tim Hall pointed out that the Paintsville 911 serves both city and Johnson County residents, but Paintsville residents pay for 100 percent of the costs.

“911 has been a giant hole since I’ve been here,” Hall said.

He also suggested that the city speak with the county about possibly helping out with funding the 911 service.

“We just need a little bit of cooperation to help us out with those costs,” he said.

The council agreed with Runyon’s summary of the council’s wishes that the city seek alternatives to help fund the 911 system and for the departments to present the county with possible cost-savings. Both Runyon and Hall specifically pointed out the need to reduce overtime costs in the city’s ambulance services.

The council took no action on the matter during the meeting.

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