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Rotterdam stays with EMS service

At a special meeting held Thursday, Feb. 5, the Rotterdam Town Board unanimously voted to stay with Rotterdam EMS instead of entering into a contract with privately run Mohawk Ambulance Service.

The people in our community are happy with what we have. They trust the service that Rotterdam EMS and Rotterdam Ambulance has provided over the years, said Supervisor Steven Tommasone.

This year, the $100,000 or more needed to fund the service will come from the town's budget.

"I went to department heads and asked them to assist me in coming up with some funding for Rotterdam EMS, and through several departments, mostly through the police department and Chief [James J.] Hamilton, the planning department and our attorneys in the legal department, we were able to put together about $65,000 worth of transfers," said Tommasone.

According to Joe Vanderworker, president of the board of directors for Rotterdam EMS, the Town Board and Rotterdam EMS are still looking at ways to come up with the rest of the funding. Estimates for the cost of the service range from $100,000 to $120,000.

"He's got the numbers in his head," said Vanderworker of Tommasone.

In subsequent years, Rotterdam will fund the EMS service by creating a special taxing district. Tommasone could not provide a specific cost to taxpayers, but said it would be minimal.

"It's an essential service. It's like the essential service of having water come into your home," said Tommasone.

Several weeks ago, the Town of Rotterdam rejected a proposal made by Mohawk Ambulance to provide emergency services to the town.

"The proposal would dedicate one ambulance to the town. We would, of course, if that ambulance was being used, move another one into the town," said Chris Bombardier of Mohawk Ambulance.

He said that Mohawk Ambulance would have provided the service to the town with no charge to taxpayers.

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