Ambulance and village work out differences

— From the VAAS website

Founded in 1952, the Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service now has an annual budget of roughly $90,000, which has held steady for the last several years.

VOORHEESVILLE — Two months after the village board here was ready to let the ambulance service contract expire, the two sides said this week that they are working to have a contract for 2014 ready to go when the town begins its new calendar year in January.

“There’s been a lot of communication between the village’s attorney and our attorney,” said Voorheesville Area Ambulance Squad member Ray Ginter, who described the process as positive. “The draft document we last received a week ago was similar to the one for 2013.”

Earlier this year, the VAAS and the village board agreed to an ambulance reserve fund of approximately $7,000 after strained negotiations for the 2013 contract. The village board asked to hold the reserve fund for the VAAS in 2014 and beyond.

The village had argued previously that, with fewer volunteer hours, a potential dissolution of the VAAS would render the assets distributable to a similar organization rather than back to the municipalities that fund the VAAS. The town of New Scotland contributes 61 percent of the ambulance budget, and the village contributes 39 percent.

The village board also did not want to provide two weeks’ notice to the VAAS when placing ambulance business on its agenda, as the village board meets every two weeks. 

Ginter and fellow VAAS member Robin Shufelt said in October that the ambulance squad would probably agree to allow contract language about the court dissolution and the meeting notice.

Mayor Robert Conway agreed this week that communication between the attorneys has been open, and he said that the town and the village are anxious to settle the contract with the ambulance squad.

“I think some of the proposed wording is addressing some concerns on the municipality’s part and the ambulance’s part,” Conway told The Enterprise. “We felt that we were able to come to a common understanding pretty quickly.”

Ginter told The Enterprise that the ambulance, the town, and the village need to work together in ironing out the details.

“I’m pretty positive about it,” he said. “We’re looking long-term in the next year, the next 10 years, to make sure” patients are attended, he said.

“We see the future of the squad is that [the ambulance is] there to serve the village residents and the town residents,” Ginter said.

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