At the conclusion of the Thurman Town Board meeting Monday Nov. 14, the leaders of two ambulance squads formerly competing to be local sanctioned squad exchanged friendly compliments. Warrensburg EMS captain Steve Emerson (left) shares his thoughts with Thurman squad President Jean Coulard (center) and Thurman squad Captain John O’Neill. Monday, Warrensburg EMS withdrew their bid for the contract to be the town’s primary agency in 2012, citing that the town wasn’t paying enough for their services.
Photo by Thom Randall.
continued Emerson questioned whether Coulard’s budget was realistic, saying that with the costs of equipment, training, insurance and keeping paid staffing on duty, Thurman’s board would have to boost their contract amount.
“We asked them last week to consider raising the contract amount and they responded with a flat ‘No,’” he said. “But it costs $600 for an ambulance to roll out of the station’s door.”
Emerson said he hoped that for the sake of maintaining public safety, he hoped that the town board boosts their support for emergency medical services.
“Without the sincere support of the town, no singular agency can or would survive, and the risk of losing EMS coverage for the town of Thurman completely, is very real,” he said in the letter.
The town and Thurman EMS also have to end a months-old squabble over who owns the ambulance, as both the town board and the Thurman squad are claiming ownership of the vehicle, which now is in the squad’s possession.
Town supervisor Evelyn Wood has noted that the vehicle’s title cites the town is the owner, but squad leaders counter that the town has a written contract with the squad that specifies the town will transfer ownership when the last payment is made — and the squad is current in its payments, with only two to go.
Wood has said the board is ready to launch a lawsuit to force the vehicle’s return, saying that the contract has “defects.”
Monday, the board retreated behind closed doors to discuss “potential litigation.” They emerged from their executive session, citing they made no decisions on the matter.
Emerson said the two entities have to solve their differences and the town needs to step up its financial support. He also said his squad would continue to provide Advanced Life Support Services as needed.