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Rotterdam medics urge prompt decision

A fourth option would be to eliminate the town's emergency medical services and outsource services, but it would result in the town losing all control over emergency medical services.

The fifth option would be to merge the paramedic unit into REMS, which was the recommended option because it allows for the town to have some responsibility and input into the system, creates one agency, improves staffing and supervision and continues the tradition of a system in Rotterdam.

This option is costly, though, with a funding increase of about $145,000 per year.

Collins said the system could stay the same and work with minor changes. He pointed to Guilderland, which has a similar system and makes it work. He said Guilderland's EMS system is high-tech, with full support and a robust volunteer staff.

"In Guilderland, they are the elite," Collins said. "They pay comparably, but they are high-tech, and medical folks like to work with the best equipment and have the best support. I strive for that, and we can get there," he said.

Board member Robert Godlewski said he would like to see this issue discussed during a public forum. Board member John Mertz disagreed.

"We don't need another issue to separate our town; it isn't good for our community," Mertz said.

Mertz and Tommasone both said a decision should be made at the board's meeting in June.

Godlewski said he was uncomfortable with the REMS' financial situation and wanted more time to discuss the issue.

"I'm not going to put our paramedics in jeopardy to cover their costs," he said.

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