by Jay Lawson
Dan Rivet has presented the Town of Webb Board with a contract for its consideration, pertaining to the Advanced Life Support (ALS) staffing arrangement that will start in Webb in January 2016.
He provided the contract at the Board’s Budget Hearing on Monday, November 2.
The contract was the result of negotiations between Old Forge Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Town of Webb Attorney Richard Frye, according to Rivet.
Rivet first thanked the Town of Webb Board for putting funds in its 2016 budget for ALS.
The amount budgeted by the Town was $200,000.
Councilwoman Mary Brophy Moore spoke on behalf of the Board, saying she was glad the Board was able to make the funding happen in the budget.
“We will have a lot less stress on the department as a result,” she said.
The Ambulance Corps had been wrestling for years with ways to maintain emergency response coverage as its volunteer force has continued to age without adequate up-and-coming replacement numbers.
“I think it’s important—critically important [that we fund this],” said Town of Webb Supervisor Ted Riehle, agreeing with Rivet that emergency response reliability amounts to an important quality of life issue.
Councilman Mike Ross indicated that the board had requested details of the Corps, including the manner in which the ALS program would be monitored.
Rivet said the Ambulance Corps committee is currently finalizing those details, but the contract has nearly everything in place as it pertains to the Town of Webb.
Rivet said the Town’s $200,000 allocated will be earmarked for payroll and items relating to payroll.
This includes employee wages, benefits and payroll taxes, he said.
The funds will be deposited in a dedicated account for that purpose, according to Rivet.
Councilman Ross said it was an important stipulation that the taxpayer contribution be accounted for fully, and Rivet assured the Town Board that it would be.
“We put [those details] in the contract under Payment for Services,” Rivet said.
“All funds received by the Ambulance Corps from the Town will be deposited in an account specifically designated for the payment of Advanced Life Support service provider payroll and benefits,” Rivet said.
Again, no fund provided by the Town to the Ambulance Corps, pursuant to the agreement, shall be used for any purpose other than to provide ALS employee compensation, according to Rivet.
Additionally, the account will be audited, according to Rivet. All bank statements and payroll reports relating to the special designated ALS payroll account will be provided to the Town on a quarterly basis, he said.
“So it’s strictly payroll to cover 168 hours a week, times 52 week [a year],” Rivet said.
“And it’s not going to cover everything. The Ambulance Corps will provide [all other] ambulance expenses…including the cost of running the ambulance, fuel, supplies, anything like that,” he said.
And the Town of Webb contribution is a subsidy that won’t cover all payroll, according to Rivet, who estimates total payroll costs to be nearly $250,000.
Webb Supervisor Ted Riehle had previously stated the taxpayer cost to be about 11 cents per thousand of assessed value.
That would be $33 a year for a property assessed at $300,000, Rivet said.
Webb resident George Hiltebrant asked if any other towns will be contributing to the ALS effort.
Rivet said contributions from neighboring communities won’t go toward the ALS. At least not yet.
“The Town of Forestport gives us $3,500 a year. We’re going to ask for more from them,” Rivet said.
The Old Forge Ambulance Corps has a reciprocal arrangement with neighboring townships, according to Rivet.
In 2014 Old Forge responded to forty calls in Otter Lake and Woodgate in the Town of Forestport.
The Corps responded to 10 calls in Inlet, Rivet said.
And the services in those Towns respond in kind, according to Rivet.
“Inlet responds down here [with ambulance], Otter Lake responds up here with their fire department when we need additional fire support,” he said.
“They do help us. [Town of Forestport] sends two of their ALS providers up here to assist us. They provide the training and such.
They put EMTs on our ambulances from Otter Lake and Woodgate to assist us. It’s a mutual aid thing. It’s no different than when you get a fire in Inlet and fire trucks and apparatus go up there to help us.
They come into the Town of Webb to help with [ALS support],” Rivet said.
“And Inlet covers for ALS if they have [the staff]. They back up Big Moose and cover as far south as the North Woods.”
“So what we’re doing essentially is we’re providing one ALS person to cover calls in the Town of Webb. And occasionally they will go to Forestport or they will go to the Town of Inlet. It’s a good neighbor policy, and it has worked for years,” he said.