To The Daily Sun,
Bristol, provides Alexandria, Danbury and Hill 24/7/365 ambulance coverage. This coverage cost about $550,000 per year for all four towns combined. This amount is spread to each town by a formula of cost per call and then each town is credited by the number of "patient transports" they had, which reduces their overall expense. So, if each town wanted to provide its own 24/7/365 ambulance department, the minimum operating cost would be around $390,000, which includes six full-time EMS employees (including benefits), admin services, billing fees, ambulance maintenance, fuel, medical supplies, etc. This does not cover the cost of space for the ambulance and staff (about $25,000) or the cost of the ambulance (about $160,000). So having all towns combined like we have is a real cost saving.
I am sharing this information because of the high cost Bristol taxpayers have paid over the years compared to the other towns. Every year Bristol pays about 57 percent for their 3,051 people and 17 square miles of coverage, while Alexandria, Danbury and Hill pay only 43 percent for their 4,352 people and 108 square miles of coverage. Plus, Bristol pays 100 percent of the capital expense for space and ambulance costs.
Our ambulance service could be compared to our electric bills where we are billed to maintain reserve capacity and distribution costs even if we do not use any electricity. So, with the current ambulance contract, these towns would pay zero if they did not have any calls and Bristol taxpayers would have to pay the full $550,000. This can be corrected easily and equitably by taking the $550,000 plus a set amount for capital expenses and dividing it by the number of people that live in each town. So, just like electric reserve capacity and distribution costs, all towns are billed for the cost of service even if they do not use it.
Bristol EMS provides an excellent level of service, plus a second ambulance when possible. EMS services "people" as "people" need the service, it's not there to count calls or the number of patient transports that each town has and bill accordingly. Counting calls and patient transports could leave any one of the towns paying more than their share of the cost of service. In essences, one town could be paying for another town's portion.
It is the selectboard's duty to take action to correct this contract and as good neighbors, Alexandria, Danbury and Hill need to step up and start paying the real cost.
Last November I provided this information to the selectboard and have reminded them several times since, and now it is July and they have failed to take any action.
One last piece of information I will leave you with is in the past two years a scheduled meeting took place to review the next year's ambulance rates and not one person from Alexandria, Danbury and Hill showed up to discuss them. What does this tell you?
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