Yates votes no on money for Medina ambulance, but intends to help fund effort

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 March 2017 at 9:33 am

YATES – The Yates Town Board voted against a contract with the Village of Medina on Thursday night, where the town would contribute to the ambulance service.

Town Board members say they want to pay towards a new ambulance, but don’t like the language in the contract referring to a “deficit” with the ambulance service.

The Medina Fire Department provides ambulance service for the western Orleans County towns of Yates, Ridgeway and Shelby. The Fire Department has four ambulances and wants to replace one every two years. The ambulances cost about $160,000 each, so each year the department wants to set aside $80,000 towards an ambulance.

The three towns and village of Medina will pay a pro-rated share towards the ambulance based on percentage of ambulance calls in each municipality between Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 each year.

In Yates, the town share, including for residents in the Village of Lyndonville, would be about $15,000 a year, said Jim Simon, the town supervisor.

The current contract with Medina expires June 30. Yates has been in a contract with Medina since 2007 for ambulance services. Yates hasn’t been contributing to the cost in recent years.

Town Board members said they want to support paying for an ambulance, but don’t want to be pulled into financing other operational costs.

Yates officials have been meeting with Medina officials for more than a year, discussing the ambulance contract. Wes Bradley, a Yates town councilman, said the focus initially had been on an ambulance replacement fund and having the three towns contribute. But it has expanded to helping with an undefined deficit for the service.

“I’m still not 100 percent comfortable (with the contract),” Bradley said during the Town Board meeting.

Bradley has been a member of the Lyndonville Fire Department for 37 years. He said the Medina Fire Department provides “top-notch” service to the Yates community. He just wants the language clear in the contract.

The proposed contract would establish an Advisory Board, with Yates, Shelby, Ridgeway and Medina all appointing a representative. That board is welcome to make recommendations to the Medina Village Board on how to reduce a deficit with the service.

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari declined to discuss the issue until he had a chance to talk with the Village Board. He said he wanted to three towns to view the ambulance as a shared service.

Jim Whipple was the lone Yates board member to vote for the new contract. Whipple, however, didn’t want the town to be pulled into management of the service.

“We just want to support the ambulance and not get involved in collections and operations,” Whipple said.

The Medina Village Board would still oversee the service, but the new Advisory Board would give the towns more input in how the ambulance service is run.

Town Supervisor Jim Simon, and councilmen John Riggi and Wes Bradley voted against the contract. Councilman Brad Bentley was absent from the meeting.

Simon said the town already budgeted $15,000 this year to support the ambulance. He said Yates is pleased with the service and wants to help pay for new ambulances in the future.

The contract in the past has been rolling over each year. Simon and the Yates officials would like to have the issue settled soon.

“We don’t have another ambulance service we can turn to,” Simon said.

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