CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS) says it is in Jeopardy due to funding issues with the city.
Chief Virginia Leavell says CARS entered an agreement with the city back in 2017 which outlined how Charlottesville would help fund CARS. Leavell says CARS has held up their end of the deal by responding to 70% of the city’s EMS calls in under nine minutes, but the city has yet to fully fund them as promised.
“Unfortunately, we are in jeopardy of not existing in five years if the current budget deficit and alignment between the city and CARS with the MOU (memorandum of understanding) is not met,” Chief Leavell said.
Leavell brought these concerns to city council Tuesday night during the budget hearing.
“To date, we have never received the operational funding laid out in the MOU, receiving back less than half of the money we bring in each year and resulting in a deficit budget that, despite the generosity and support of our donors, cannot be bridged by donations and grants alone,” Chief Leavell said to council.
Leavell is frustrated not knowing the future of the organization.
“We provide about 2.5 million in free labor every year, the cost to replace CARS would be tremendous,” she said. “When we start looking at what we have to cut from the volunteers, that’s a difficult conversation.”
Chief Leavell says she is still hopeful and confident this issue will be worked out with the city in the coming weeks and months.