MEETING TONIGHT TO DISCUSS JOINT EMS PROGRAM PLANS

A meeting is set for tonight at the Burke Town Hall between all involved in a proposed joint EMS service for Burke, Chateaugay and part of Belmont, in which everyone will go over all the fine details of that proposal. Tonight’s meeting however, is not a public meeting. It is being held to address a lot of lingering questions about just how the combined/paid ambulance corps would operate. Specific questions center around things like how a single EMS service could get from one rural part of town to another in a reasonable response time. Some say trying to serve an area comprising two and a half towns from one central location just won’t work. Others have said that the use of volunteers to support the paid EMS personnel would be an option, but many say that too is not realistic. A big question centers around the cost of the whole thing. That means taxes will have to go up, but just how much at this point is anyone’s guess. Some peg the cost of participation to be as much as $400,000 per community involved. Others say that figure could actually be a low estimate, and the real cost could be much higher. In Burke, that could mean a tax increase of as much as 18% according to some estimates.