2019-04-10 / Front Page

Rural Ambulance Services Becoming More Critical

Hamden May Link Up With Sidney
By Sara Andros

Privileges of the floor were granted to Delhi Joint Fire District Chairman Scott May at the April 3 town of Hamden board meeting. He came before the board to outline the proposed changes to the ambulance structure. May said that in recent years it has been difficult to attract and keep volunteer squad members because of the extensive training and time commitment, so it was decided to explore other options.

May said fire district members have been in discussions with the Sidney Emergency Medical Services (SEMS) who have formed a not-for-profit ambulance service that doesn’t place a cost burden on the community. The SEMS personnel are paid employees rather than volunteers.

Since Sidney has the infrastructure in place, Delhi is considering a contract partnership with them. If Delhi tried to form its own service, it would cost approximately half a million dollars and would take two years. “A partnership seems to make a good bit of sense,” said May. Other towns have chosen to pay for services through a tax levy, but May said the model Sidney has adopted appears to be a good fit for the Delhi ambulance squad.

Councilman Richard Smith questioned the logistics of being under the Sidney organization since they are so far away from Delhi. May said that there would be a squad headquartered in Delhi in addition to the one in Sidney. Hamden Supervisor Wayne Marshfield wondered what would happen if the squad had to go out of the district or if surrounding towns decided to rely on towns with paid EMS squads, and if other communities aren’t on board, who pays and who doesn’t?

May said out-of-district calls would be billed to the patient.

“It will be necessary to do something soon, because volunteer ambulance services are struggling throughout the county, said May. Marshfield asked if the ambulance and fire people are on board with it and May said that for the most part, they are. “It is not a simple issue,” said May.

Six to eight jobs would result from joining Sidney’s organization, and within a few years, the Delhi branch should be able to stand on its own, May feels. He offered to be available to respond to questions or concerns about the proposed changes to the ambulance service.

Marshfield said letters with new assessed property values were sent to Hamden residents on April 1 by Emminger, Newton, Pigeon & Magyar, Inc. (ENPM) For those not in agreement with the new assessments, there will be informal hearings held on Thursday, April 11, Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. Residents should call ENPM to schedule an appointment.

In other business:

• Trucking bids for hauling highway materials were received from Carver Stone and Gravel and from Cobleskill Stone. The board voted to accept Cobleskill Stone’s lower bid of $9 per ton.

• Highway Supervisor Roger Dibble said Hamden was the first to submit all of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) paperwork to Virginia. The town should receive approximately $250,000.

Dibble also said that the state budget took away $35,700 of winter recovery money, but fortunately the highway department was able to roll some money over from last year to help fill the gap. The department should still get $250,000 of Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funds.

When Dibble contacted the town of Freedom about purchasing the 2010 Peterbilt truck they indicated the price would $65,000 rather than the $60,000 initially thought. Dibble will make an appointment to go check it out and take photographs. If a decision is made to purchase the truck, the town would get it sometime in August.

• Dog enumeration will begin again this month.

• Board members voted to approve the grants received from the O’Connor Foundation and the Delaware County Tourism Advisory Board so the town promotion project will be 100 percent funded. Vecc Productions will produce four 90- and 60-second videos for the town website and will subcontract out the printing of the Hamden maps and brochures.

• Two constable appointments were proposed and approved. Marc Calcano was appointed to the position of training officer and Tim Stewart was appointed to the position of scheduling officer.

• The NY Department of Agriculture and Markets conducted an inspection of the town’s dog control records and found everything in order.

• Scott Fox’s resignation from the planning board was accepted with regret. The board approved the appointment of Rachelle Rogers to fill the vacant position.

• Town Clerk Dennise Yeary and Marshfield will attend a sexual harassment train the trainer seminar in Oneonta on April 9.

• There will be a meeting with EDF Solar on April 16 regarding its proposal for a commercial solar farm in Hamden.

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