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Board blinks on ambulance contract

Voorheesville negotiations flatline, board awards funding despite objections

The Village Board of Trustees awarded Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service reserve funding in its this year after contract negotiations were stalled for several months.

The Village Board of Trustees awarded Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service reserve funding in its this year after contract negotiations were stalled for several months. Photo by John Purcell.

Attempts by The Spotlight to contact a Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service representative were unsuccessful.

Conway said the village is looking to save money in supporting its own $2.1 million budget. In addition to the reserve funding, the village pays around $28,000 annually into the ambulance service’s operating fund, some of which is reimbursed to the village through billings. The Town of New Scotland and the village split the service’s cost about 60-40.

New Scotland was also considering withholding reserve funding. After ambulance service representatives appeared at the town’s budget hearing, the Town Board restored its portion of funding, according to New Scotland Supervisor Thomas Dolin. The combined reserve funding now totals $22,000.

Dolin said the issue would be revisited this year, and Conway said the village plans to do the same.

One clause added to the village’s recently approved contract requires that if for some reason the Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service were to fold, the funds would be returned to the village or Town of New Scotland.

“There has been some concern about the future viability of the service. They have been having trouble recruiting,” Conway said. “They are the ones that came to us last year and said, ‘We can no longer provide coverage during the day.’”

He stressed he doesn’t “want,” “wish” or is “encouraging” for the ambulance service provider to close, but hopes to discuss how to continue providing services to the village even if it is under a different model.

Another addition requires the company to collect billing revenue and provide the village with revenues. Conway said he has heard “conflicting stories” about if the company has or has not been billing.

Village Trustee David Cardona said there was a verbal conversation between Trustee John Stevens and ambulance service Captain Ray Ginter after the village board approved a new contract. Cardona said it appears the company will approve it, as well.

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