Gaines, Carlton town supervisors state preference for Monroe Ambulance

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 December 2022 at 9:30 am

Town boards at 2 towns meet next week to vote on ambulance contract

Photos by Tom Rivers: Members of the Carlton and Gaines town boards met briefly on Thursday evening at the Carlton Rec Hall to discuss proposals for ambulance services in the two towns. Pictured from left include Carlton Town Councilman Josh Narburgh, Gaines Town Supervisor Tyler Allport, Carlton Town Supervisor Gayle Ashbery, Carlton Town Councilwoman Deborah Yockel, Carlton Town Councilman Dana Woolston, Gaines Town Councilman Jim Kirby and Gaines Town Councilman Ron Mannella.

CARLTON – The town supervisors in Gaines and Carlton both said they favor Monroe Ambulance in a contract for EMS services in the two towns.

However, they said their town boards both meet early next week and those five-member boards could reach a different decision in the contract for ambulance services.

Gaines and Carlton are the last of seven towns in central and eastern Orleans to make a decision on ambulance services for 2023.

“I would like to join with the other towns for the position of bargaining,” Gaines Town Supervisor Tyler Allport said about why he favors Monroe Ambulance.

Carlton Town Supervisor Gayle Ashbery agreed, saying the two remaining towns would have more “leverage” in negotiations as part of block with more towns.

Tyler Allport of Gaines and Gayle Ashbery said they prefer joining four other towns in Orleans in a contract with Monroe Ambulance, saying there is “bargaining power” as a block of six towns.

Monroe Ambulance and Mercy Flight EMS are both seeking the contract. The towns of Albion, Barre, Clarendon and Murray have already chosen Monroe, while Kendall has opted against paying either of them because the two fire districts in Kendall already had an arrangement in place. The Kendall Fire District has a contract with Monroe Ambulance while the Hamlin Morton Walker Fire District includes has an agreement with Mercy Flight.

Allport, the Gaines town supervisor, and Ashbery, the Carlton town supervisor, said the community’s needs will be met for ambulance services with the new contract, whether it’s Mercy Flight or Monroe.

COVA in Albion and Hamlin ceased operations last month and Mercy Flight EMS took over for COVA, keeping more than 40 of those employees. Mercy Flight is operating out of COVA’s base in Albion and at Lake Road in Hamlin.

Mercy Flight proposed serving Gaines for $18,000 and Carlton for $17,000 in 2023 and would commit to at least one advanced life support ambulance 24-7. There would also be a basic life support ambulance to be shared with Hamlin 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mercy Flight would initially keep the ambulance at the COVA base in Albion, but would look for a site in Gaines or Carlton, according to a proposal from Scott Wooton, executive vice president and treasurer for Mercy Flight.

Monroe, in its contract proposal, proposes keeping two ambulances in the county, with a unit based in Albion and the Albion Fire Department and in Holley at the Holley Fire Department.

Monroe is seeking $24,600 from Gaines and $14,800 from Carlton. That is part of $181,200 to be shared from the six towns with the amount based on the percentage of calls with the six towns. The other towns will pay: $84,400 in Albion, $8,000 in Barre, $18,800 in Clarendon and $30,600 in Murray. (Kendall was asked to pay $18,000 when it was a seven-town contract.)

The meeting was less than a half hour on Thursday between Gaines and Carlton town boards. That disappointed some in the crowd who wanted to hear more details and also offer their opinions.

David Bertsch of Carlton said Monroe is covering many of its own calls in Monroe.

Jennifer Stilwell, the COVA president, said COVA’s Albion and Hamlin crews provided mutual aid for 162 calls so far in 2022 in eastern Orleans County.

Allport and Ashbery said the meeting Thursday was a workshop and no public comments would be taken. When Bertsch tried to ask a second question, Allport got up and left.

Allport and Ashbery both said the public can ask questions during each town’s respective board meetings. Gaines meets 7 p.m. on Monday at the Gaines Town Hall and Carlton meets 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Carlton Town Hall.