Rotterdam EMS contract hinges on audit

The Rotterdam Town Board plans to complete an external audit of Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services Inc. to determine the corps' financial state before the town considers a contract with the company for ambulance services.

Joe Vanderwerker, president of REMS' board said the ambulance corps needs a contract with the town of Rotterdam so it can put two basic life-support ambulances on the road 24/7. REMS currently runs with one ambulance regularly.

Vanderwerker estimated the cost of constantly running two basic life support ambulances would be $300,000 annually. He said a contract with the towns of Princetown and Rotterdam, for $32,000 annually which is equivalent to $30 per household would ensure the corps' viability.

Vanderwerker said he welcomes the audit by the town.

"We want to clear up any mismanagement in the past when the organization merged, so we can move forward," Vanderwerker said.

In 2003, Rotterdam Medical Corps merged with White Eagle Ambulance to make REMS, and began paying all of their staff, according to Vanderwerker. He said since the merger, bills have been misplaced, and he attributes REMS' financial difficulties to poor bookkeeping.

Vanderwerker said he plans to hire a bookkeeper for the corps in the near future.

The Town Board voted unanimously Wednesday, Aug. 13, to hire Cusack and Company to complete an audit of the corps at a price not to exceed $3,000. Town Supervisor Steven A. Tommasone said the audit would be complete by the end of September.

Rotterdam officials are not the only officials concerned with REMS financial status. The corps owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $275,000 for unpaid payroll taxes and the interest accrued on the taxes, according to Vanderwerker. The IRS imposed liens on the corps for unpaid payroll taxes twice within the past year.

REMS also owes the Town of Rotterdam more than $20,000 for fuel to operate its rigs.

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