Do the Math!

I was advised the link in the other story does not open. Here is the copy I submitted to The Commons which was published 4/26/2023:

An April 7, 2023 Commentary in the Reformer, Brattleboro EMS: Fact vs fiction, asserted that “Rescue notified the town on March 25, 2022, that it would not be providing service to the town beyond the June 30, 2022,” citing Rescue Inc’s letter.

That is misleading. The full statement by Rescue from that letter reads:

“Given your stated position and unwillingness to pay for emergency medical response, Rescue Inc will not be able to continue providing that service to the Town of Brattleboro beyond the June 30, 2022 contract end date. If the town would like to come and speak with me about an agreement for service beyond June 30, 2022, please contact me no later than May 1, 2022, to schedule a meeting.”

The 2023 Representative Town Meeting discussed this matter and passed a resolution calling on

“. . . the next Selectboard to set up a process to determine the future of EMS in Brattleboro that is transparent, and takes into account the opinions of Town residents.” Minutes, p. 11

The challenge, going forward, is to ensure that the process is clear.

One way to approach this would be to look at the bottom line, especially since cost was a factor in the 2022 contract dispute.

The amount budgeted for Rescue Inc’s ambulance service in the 2021-2022 Town Annual Report was $285,600.

At least one observer who is following this issue has placed the cost to the Town of Brattleboro Fire Department to assume all EMS delivery at $2,242,769 — an increase of $1.9 million.

Indeed, at the April 4, 2023 selectboard meeting, $1.7 million in ARPA funds were set aside until September 2023 for possible Fire-EMS start-up costs. These costs involve capital equipment purchases, requiring replacement down the line. The Government Finance Officers Association noting the temporary nature of ARPA Funds, cautions that they “should be applied primarily to non-recurring expenditures. Care should be taken to avoid creating new programs or add-ons to existing programs that require an ongoing financial commitment.”

If not for the $1.7 million in ARPA funds set aside for possible Fire-EMS start-up costs, there needs to be substantial tax increases. Capital equipment replacement costs also need to be factored in if an honest budget is to be considered.

Going forward the Town needs to fully account for all expenses to be associated with the provision of EMS delivery and, if some of those expenditures were deemed necessary even if the Fire-EMS plan was not adopted, they still need to be disclosed and explained.

Can someone do the math here?

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