Budgeting moves at Grays Harbor Transit could soon affect how our local Emergency Responders are trained, and how that training is funded. Transit Board president Vickie Raines brought up the topic during the meeting of the Grays Harbor Transit Board on Tuesday night “We’ll be looking at a variety of different things for the upcoming 2017 transit budget. I would hope that my comment will open the dialogue and we can have the conversation, and I say conversation versus argument.”

The transit authority budget includes a $200,000 earmark for the Grays Harbor Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Care Council, which was established by the Washington EMS and Trauma Act of 1990.

Sharryl Bell, with Grays Harbor EMS said that $170-thousand of those funds cover training and grant costs, $30-thousand of the money is earmarked for equipment purchases for firefighters and EMTs in Grays Harbor County.

Weekend bus service was shut down in August of 2013 due to budget constraints, Saturday service returned a year later. Through all of this, the Transit Authority has funded the Grays Harbor EMS program with a $200,000 stipend that the non-profit organization must request and justify annually.

Beginning their fourth year without Sunday bus service, Raines says they need to look a little closer at all of the transit’s programs. “I want to hear from our constituents, the people that we work for, how they want that money spent. Looking at the history of those [EMS] dollars it was at a time when the transit was pretty flush.”

While she wasn’t comparing the vital funding to train EMS responders with weekend bus services, Raines said, “My goal as a commissioner and as a transit board member is to restore the weekend service to the level that it was prior to the recession.”

Raines has always been a supporter of the EMS training funds and said this week that she hopes this begins the conversation on finding a better funding source for the program.