Public safety commissioner in NY city responds to EMS contract concerns

The Saratoga Springs commissioner said the new contract will increase city revenue and not interfere with plans for a new fire/EMS station


Wendy Liberatore
Times Union, Albany, N.Y.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Commissioner of Public Safety postponed the City Council’s vote on the Greenfield EMS contract until Monday to give him more time to reassure residents that the contract with the town will not impact the construction of the east side fire station nor diminish city emergency medical services to residents.

Commissioner Peter Martin said many citizens reached out to him with concerns about the $60,000 agreement with the Greenfield that will contract the city's ambulances to provide service to the town's eastern district. He assures that the contract will allow for better service throughout the city.

A new contract between the city of Saratoga Springs and the nearby town of Greenfield would allow town residents to receive ambulance services from the city's fire department. (Photo/Saratoga Springs Fire Department)
A new contract between the city of Saratoga Springs and the nearby town of Greenfield would allow town residents to receive ambulance services from the city's fire department. (Photo/Saratoga Springs Fire Department)

“This is a revenue producer,” Martin said. “The analysis that our fire chief and our administrative staff have done here is that it should impact it in a positive way. It will allow us to improve EMS service here.”

Martin said with reimbursements from insurance, the arrangement will actually bring in an estimated $150,000 a year. That money, Martin said, can go into staffing a second ambulance year-round.

Currently, only one ambulance, at the Lake Avenue station, is staffed 24-hours-a-day, 365 days. The second ambulance, at the West Avenue station, is now staffed about 200 days a year.

“Even though it’s on the west side, it services the entire city,” Martin said. “We will have the ability to have more service and that should result in improvements throughout the entire city, improvements in the response times and services we provide.”

Residents on the east side of the city fear the Greenfield contract, which was pulled from the city council’s agenda on Tuesday, would shift the city’s priorities away from their neighborhood that has been promised a fire and EMS station for decades. Martin said the Greenfield contract does not affect the plan for a third station, announced in October, on Henning Road on state property now leased by the New York Racing Association.

“This will not impact the station,” Martin said. “The city is determined to go ahead with that.”

Martin estimates that Greenfield will use the city's ambulance less than 200 times a year. Most of those transports, he said, will be within a mile of the city as the agreement limits the city’s reach into Greenfield. Additionally, the city’s ambulances respond to about 4,000 calls a year in the city.

He also said that the agreement works out well for Greenfield, because Saratoga Hospital is close by.

“Because the hospital is so close the turnaround time should be prompt,” he said. “We see this as a win/win.”

He said he plans on addressing all concerns at Monday’s City Council meeting.

“This gives us more time to educate the public,” Martin said.

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©2019 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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