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Crowd demands Thurman EMS support through taxation

Thurman board opts for merger

Thurman-based contractor Mike Eddy, backed up by about 100 townspeople, confronts the Thurman Town Board Feb. 12,  calling for the town government to financially support Thurman’s independent ambulance squad. A proposition to appropriate $62,000 to the squad for 2013 was defeated by the board by a 2-3 vote.

Thurman-based contractor Mike Eddy, backed up by about 100 townspeople, confronts the Thurman Town Board Feb. 12, calling for the town government to financially support Thurman’s independent ambulance squad. A proposition to appropriate $62,000 to the squad for 2013 was defeated by the board by a 2-3 vote.

— Thurman EMS President Jean Coulard disputed Vasak’s statements. Others said such status could indeed be achieved with long-term support of the town government.

Wood said the town couldn’t practically appropriate money mid-year for EMS services, as the budget had already been set, and reserves were limited.

Former Town Supervisor John Haskell questioned whether the town government actually had more money in savings than were indicated in the 2013 budget. Wood answered that various reserve accounts were designated for particular purposes under state law, and couldn’t be spent.

She said that the town was committed and contracted to spending $261,000 on road repairs — much of the expense stemming from the 2011 Memorial Day flooding that destroyed portions of virtually all roads in town. The audience, however responded that human lives were higher priority than roadways. Wood replied that appropriating $62,000 mid-year would also cause Thurman to run afoul of the state tax-cap laws.

“If we make an appropriation like this, next year we’ll have serious financial problems in town,” she said.

She and other board members responded that if every person in the audience voluntarily donated money to the squad, it would have enough money to continue operations — at least for a while.

Board members noted that with “hard billing,” the residents who didn’t use the services would have to pay for it, and residents who did use the service would pay both through their taxes and when the squad responded to their emergency.

Jean Coulard responded that without support from the town, Thurman EMS would have to close its doors Friday Feb. 15.

Bob Herrmann, pastor of a local church, warned the board that townspeople needed the best possible care, considering their average age and the time it would take Warrensburg EMS to respond from its home base.

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