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Ambulance service seeks parity with fire company

January 11, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

Bo Miller, chief of the Williamsport Volunteer Ambulance Service, asked the Williamsport Mayor and Town Council on Monday to consider increasing the ambulance service's budget allotment so it gets the same amount of money as the Williamsport Fire Co.

The fire department in fiscal 1999 was allotted $8,000 while the ambulance service was allotted $5,000, Town Clerk Donna K. Spickler said.

"I think the extra money, so we can equal but not exceed, will benefit the town," Miller said. "We feel that it is important for our department to get any kind of increase because of the kind of the services we provide."

The ambulance service responds to about 1,700 calls annually, at an estimated cost of $300 to $400 per call, Miller said.

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The town contributes to both emergency agencies to help offset costs for town residents, said Assistant Mayor James M. Black.

The ambulance service honors donations made by citizens to the department, and doesn't aggressively pursue payment from in-town service recipients who can't afford to pay their bills, Miller said.

"It might not be the best business way, but we're here to protect people," he said.

The ambulance service in June spent $185,000 for a three-acre plot of land in Williamsport. The land eventually will house a new building to accommodate the company's growing fleet, but the purchase drained the service of resources, Miller said.

The auxiliary is planning fund-raising projects and the ambulance service has cut its budget in every way possible, Miller said.

"At this point in time, there's no way for our department to keep cutting back and continue to provide the type of care we provide," he said.

Some new gear must be purchased, a utility vehicle charged with pulling three trailers needs to be replaced this year, and a 1992 ambulance will have to be replaced within the next two to three years, Miller said.

Williamsport Mayor John W. Slayman said the Town Council would consider the request when preparing this year's budget.

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