Ripley Council considers new Air Evac plan

By Martha Jacob

Vice Mayor Charles Poole opened the April 26 Ripley Village Council meeting in the absence of Mayor Tom Leonard.
Following approval of the minutes, council heard from Shannon Hicks with Air Evac Lifeteam, who approached council at the last meeting regarding signing with his company for emergency air flight.
“I wanted to come back and address council to see if you’ve had time to look over everything I left with you last time,” Hicks asked, “Does anyone have any questions I could answer?”
Councilwoman Kathy Lewis told council that she had a letter from Craig Hauke, with the Ripley Life Squad. She read the letter aloud, which stated that the Ripley Life Squad agrees to pay half of the cost for Air Evac Lifeteam membership for the Village of Ripley which amounts to $3,759, leaving the village to pay the other half.
Poole asked Hicks if he had any kind of spread sheet where he could see exactly how many flights actually go out of Ripley in a year’s time.
“I can’t say exactly,” Hicks said, “but I believe it was around 20 people. The total cost to transport someone, can be over $33,000 per transport, so those 20 people paid over $600,000, which is money going out of this village. This plan is a good investment because it does leave tax dollars from citizens, in this village.”
Poole commented that ten years ago when he was care flighted out, it cost $16,000 so he wasn’t at all surprised that it is now over $30,000.
“Any village resident that’s flown from the Village of Ripley or Mason County, Kentucky, will be covered through this plan at a cost of only $35.  If they have insurance, we bill the insurance company, and there’s no out-of-pocket expense to the resident. If they don’t have insurance, then they will be charged the Medicare allowable rate which is significantly lower than the average flight cost. It is between $8,000 and $12,000, which is a fraction of the cost.”
Hicks reminded council that this is a membership plan, not insurance, and works like Triple A.
Poole looked around at the council members and said now it would be up to council to find the funds to pay for the plan. Council agreed to table the issue and revisit it at the next meeting.
Ripley resident Alvin Wallace also approached council regarding whether or not the village had a plan in place in the event of a nationwide total financial collapse which would possibly cause debit cards, food cards, etc. to become obsolete. “My question is, do we have an emergency plan to be able to feed people, have gas, water and other necessities,” Wallace said,” I sincerely believe that the government has tested this collapse in the past and knows what would happen. It would be total chaos.”
Village Administrator Pete Renshaw assured Mr. Wallace that the village is currently working on adopting an emergency plan from New Richmond. “New Richmond has a plan that has been recommended to us by the Emergency Management Agency in Brown County, Renshaw said, “It is about 18 years old and I’m updating it to today’s standards. I am about a third of the way through it, and it’s 158 pages long.”
In other business Renshaw recommended that council accept a donation of three dog waste receptacles for the village from the Ripley’s Women’s Club. Council accepted the donations. Renshaw said one would be placed at the cemetery, one at Cherry Street and one on Front Street. The Women’s Club agreed to provide bags for the receptacles for two years.
Renshaw said his efforts to hire a water treatment operator, and commented on a recent food pantry held at the Methodist Church that was a huge success.
The administrator said he was waiting on an estimate to repair the loading dock at the Ripley Metalworks building. He said the village wide yard sale was set for May 6 and 7.