Ambulance corps seeks funding

By LIAM MAYO
Posted 12/14/21

COCHECTON, NY — The Cochecton Volunteer Ambulance Corps has been asking the town for funding for some time.

At the board’s Wednesday, July 14 meeting, corps vice-president Peter …

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Ambulance corps seeks funding

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COCHECTON, NY — The Cochecton Volunteer Ambulance Corps has been asking the town for funding for some time.

At the board’s Wednesday, July 14 meeting, corps vice-president Peter Grosser said that the corps was struggling to receive sufficient funding from donations and from insurance payments, and asked that the town consider funding the corps directly.

Board members indicated their appreciation of the organization and their support for its aims, and the matter was discussed at several succeeding board meetings, with the town and the corps each looking to the other to initiate the process of establishing a source of funding.

The corps sent the town a letter reiterating its request on Saturday, November 27, leading up to the town’s December board meeting.

“Without additional financial support from the town, we do not believe we can provide the quality of service that the residents, and visitors to the town deserve,” the letter states. “When the benefits to the town and its residents are so great, it is a small price to pay for such a needed service.”

The letter asked the town board to provide the corps with funding in one of two ways: either through an appropriation from the town’s public safety general fund, or through the formation of an ambulance district.

Discussing the letter at the town’s Wednesday, December 8 board meeting, Town of Cochecton Supervisor Gary Maas rejected the first option, saying “That’s something we’re not going to do.”

Town attorney Karen Mannino said that the state’s constitution did not allow towns to gift money, nixing the idea of a direct appropriation of funds.

Grosser said that, to his knowledge, there were other towns in New York that provided for an ambulance corps in that fashion, and that those towns were audited without there being an issue.

Audits didn’t catch everything, said Maas. “And I don’t feel comfortable giving [to] any entity… without oversight.”

Maas expressed his support for the corps’ second proposed method of funding, the formation of an ambulance district, and said that the town board would make a statement in support if that was what was necessary.

In discussing the process of forming the ambulance district, Mannino said that the process required the corps to submit certain applications, a process which carried some cost to it. “It’s onerous for [the corps] to create that district,” she said.

The corps could make an application for the town to bear some of the upfront costs of the district’s creation, Mannino added, after which the board could decide how much funding to provide.

The discussion concluded with Maas and the members of the ambulance corps in attendance agreeing to contact Pinsky Law Group, the law firm that the Town of Highland engaged for assistance in establishing its own ambulance district, and to have the corps and the town sit down with that lawyer to ensure they had the process straight.

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