Martinsville's proposed budget leaves the city with only two ambulances

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) - Martinsville Fire and EMS was hoping to get $385,000 in funding to staff a third ambulance to decrease missed calls and wait times. The department is still feeling the effects of Stone Ambulance's closing last year.

"The men and women down at our station are very resilient and they are doing everything they can to take care of our citizens." said Martinsville Fire Chief Ted Anderson.

So far in 2019, the department is on pace for a record year in emergency calls. Even though the city's wait times are increasing, there's simply not enough funds in the city's budget for another unit.

"Our budget is just tight, we've got more request than we got money to fund." said Martinsville City Manager Leon Towarnicki.

In order to find the funds, the city would have to increase the real estate tax. That's something council has no interest in doing.

"Looking at the demographics of our community and what people can afford," said Towarnicki, "I think the feeling is we're at the level where, this is about what people can afford."

If the department doesn't get the funding, they'll look at other opinions that would help shorten the turn around time on EMS calls. With help available from Henry County's volunteer departments, Anderson says all calls will be answered.