Updated: 07/12/2014 11:59 AM
Created: 07/12/2014 11:57 AM WHEC.com
In a surprise decision made after an executive session of the Village Board of Trustees Wednesday night, the board has decided it will let its paid ambulance personnel go, reverting to a small all-volunteer squad.
The village and town have been embroiled in a simmering debate about ambulance service for some time, with the most recent significant event a lawsuit by the town against the state Department of Health after the Macedon Town Ambulance service was denied a Certificate of Need (CON) to provide service to village residents.
At the moment, the town does not have a certificate of need for the village; on the other hand, the village has one for the town.
But recently, the number of calls for the village ambulance had waned to the point where the monthly $5,700 required to pay paramedics to be on call during daylight hours Monday through Friday was not being offset by revenues for ambulance runs.
Mayor Marie Cramer estimated that $26,000 in billings had been made through the first six months of the year, while the pay for daytime paramedics was approximately $34,000.
"We needed to look at the best interests for the taxpayers," she said. "This is very upsetting. We were a vibrant ambulance service, doing such a great job and financially stable. The town formed its own ambulance company, and they put roadblocks and barriers up.
"They sabotaged us," she said. "Before they used to say. 'We're the town, and we spend this much money. They never wanted to add money to the service that was already existing to make it better. They made excuses of why they needed to form and duplicate a service. The fact is, each time they've formed a new service, it's been more expensive to taxpayers. This is just so they can have control over the situation."
One of the factors affecting the decision was the loss of trips to Walworth, she said. "We no longer get calls from there. They stopped all of a sudden. When the town duplicates our services - what the village already had and was fiscally sound at a reduced cost and served the village and the town - it confined us to only provide service to the village. How could we exist when we're just confined to the village?
"The town has made people feel like we're not doing business correctly. We are. If we weren't, we'd be getting into trouble. The same things they complained that we did so badly, they're doing the same things now. We must not have been so bad."