Rotterdam ambulance service up for grabs

Mohawk and REMS present Town Board with separate proposals

Rotterdam Town Board members are looking at the future of ambulance service in town and are scheduled to hear from at least two providers at a meeting tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

The town has gone through several ambulance providers through the years, which ultimately led to a consolidation of services and a contract with REMS, which costs the town $120,000 a year. James McPartlon, vice president of Mohawk Ambulance Services said his service will provide a revenue source of around $100,000 for the town and will require no subsidies.

Joe Vanderwerker, president of REMS Board of Directors, said the ambulance service's nonprofit status makes it more reliable for residents.

You're getting quality EMS service for the town, and you're going to get it forever, said Vanderwerker.

He said a letter came "out of the blue" requesting REMS to give a presentation on Sept. 15 on why the town should continue to use its services.

"We are being forced to do this, and there is no way around this. We have no choice to give the presentation," said Vanderwerker. "I was really pissed off about it because we have been providing service since 1936 for the town."

REMS has had some financial difficulties in the past resulting in unpaid taxes, but Vanderwerker said the organization is "in the black" in regard to IRS payments and plan to have them paid off by 2012.

Mohawk's McPartlon said his service will result in savings for the town.

"What we've purposed to do is provide the town a revenue stream for the services that are provided by their paramedics," said McPartlon. "I'm not asking for a subsidy and I'm not asking for a tax district so there is substantial financial savings to the town and the residents. Yeah, we bill, but so does REMS and frankly they bill just as much as we do."

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