Four Multi-Township EMS administrators and board members attended a regular meeting of the Milford Town Council Monday night to clear the air over a recent request by MTEMS for a significant increase in the town’s subsidy.
Scott Sigerfoos, MTEMS director of operations, told council members that they felt the need to discuss the matter publicly after comments were made during a July council meeting that were highly critical of the request.
Sigerfoos reminded them that the organization currently keeps an ambulance in town 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even though it’s only contracted to do so for eight hours a day. That shows a good faith intention to give Milford the best service possible, he pointed out.
The subsidy that Milford pays for the service – subsidies being one of MTEMS three income sources, along with patient reimbursements and grants – is just not proportionate to what other towns and townships are paying.
MTEMS would like the town to increase its subsidy from $18,000 to $73,307.13 for 24/7 coverage. Sigerfoos emphasized Monday night that he doesn’t expect to see such an increase all at once, though, but rather as something that the council would work toward.
“Compare it to your police department staffing,” he said. “Take into account salaries, benefits, uniforms, training and so on that you pay for each officer, and then remember that an ambulance requires two people to be on at the same time. Do you think you could staff a police department that way for $18,000 a year?”
Among other points, council president Doug Ruch responded that he thought the fact that the town provided an EMS station should be taken into more account. Sigerfoos noted, however, that compared to the other stations out of which MTEMS operates, Milford’s is woefully inferior.
Although both sides engaged in civil conversation, the relationship moves forward with obvious trepidation.
“I don’t think anyone here would say that the service is lousy,” council member Bob Cockburn said. “I’d like to think we can work with you.”
Sigerfoos, and MTEMS Board President Roger Shori expressed an interest in the same. Sigerfoos then reiterated that MTEMS is dedicated to keeping an ambulance in town around the clock for as long as it can. Two “triggers,” both of which are tied to potential financial shortfalls, are what could change that if they occur in the future.
The council also conducted a public hearing Monday night on the town’s 2013 proposed budget, which includes a $55,158 increase from 2012 to 2013. Of that, $2,000 is earmarked for an increased subsidy to MTEMS. Also, $30,000 to $32,000 will be used to replace a 2007 police car with a newer model. The remainder will be used as a cushion for 3 percent salary increases that will not be voted on by the council until the end of the year.
No public discussion took place, so final approval to the budget will likely take pace at the October meeting.
Milford Redevelopment Commission President Dan Brown reported to the council Monday that it had been his hope to get the process to establish a tax increment financing district on the former BRTB property up and running. But after hearing earlier in the day that the engineer the commission had intended to use plans to retire, he told the council that he had asked Milford Town Attorney Jay Rigdon to submit a proposal for Rockhill Pinnick LLC to perform the work.
Pursuant to development of that site, the council also passed a motion to use Wessler Engineering as the exclusive town engineering firm. Wessler will be asked to review a previous evaluation of the site and adjust it as needed. The town intends to develop water, sewer and street infrastructure there as soon as possible.
The next meeting of the council will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 instead of Oct. 8 due to the Columbus Day holiday.
For a more in-depth accounting of Monday night’s meeting, see this week’s issue of The Mail-Journal.