To The Daily Sun,
Are Bristol taxpayers paying more than they should for Emergency Medical Service (EMS)? You decide.
Over the years many taxpayers of Bristol complain that Bristol was subsidizing EMS to the other towns it provides service for, but nothing has ever been done to verify this complaint. So, here are some interesting facts about the towns of Alexandria, Danbury and Hill — which Bristol charges a yearly fee for this service.
Fact one, according to the NHES website, as of 2013 Bristol, had a population of 3,051 residents, whereas Alexandria, Danbury and Hill have a combined total of 4,352 residents, 1,301 more people than Bristol. This equates to 41.21 percent for Bristol and 58.79 percent for the other three towns combined.
Fact two, according to the NHES web site from 2000 to 2013 Bristol has had a population growth of 18 people whereas the other three towns combined had a growth of 949 people. This equates to a growth of .059 percent of 1 percent for Bristol and 27.89 percent for the other three towns.
Fact three, according to NHES website, Bristol has an area of 17.1 square miles whereas the other three towns have an area of 108 square miles. This equates 13.67 percent for Bristol and 86.33 percent for the other three towns combined.
By now you may be seeing the bigger picture that while each of the other three towns, individually, is smaller, combined they are larger than Bristol. So, why does Bristol pays the lion share of EMS cost? At the annual meeting in March 2016, the fire chief will show that Bristol will pay 56.40 percent of the bill compared to 43.60 percent for the other three towns combined. This has been the calculated this way for many years, plus there are other capital expense items which Bristol pays even a larger share.
Recently I analyzed the data, compiled a report and sent this report to the Bristol fire chief, interim town admininstrator and selectboard, showing these fact and more. The report I sent to them should be used as a guide and for the selectboard to make improved decisions and for the voters of Bristol to voice their concerns. The town administrator should have 2016 PowerPoint from the chief in how all the towns agreed to calculate the billing rate.
The following is the town of Bristol's web page, http://www.townofbristolnh.org/index.html once there click on Government, Town Administrator or Town Selectboard for email addresses to get your copy or give the town a call.
Bristol EMS provides a great level of service — 24/7/365 coverage plus a second ambulance when possible. EMS services "people" as the "people" need the service, it's not there to count the number of calls each town has and bill accordingly.
Counting calls leaves Bristol paying even a larger portion of the bill, especially if the other three towns had fewer or no calls that year.
It is my hope the selectboard makes changes to this contract, and as good neighbors, Alexandria, Danbury and Hill will step up and start paying the real cost for the great coverage they receive.
One last fact: In the past two years a scheduled meeting took place to review the next year's rate and not one person from these towns showed up to discuss them. What does this tell Bristol taxpayers? The cost of 24/7/365 coverage is not cheap and the days of subsidizing needs to come to an end.