N.Y. city told to reevaluate fire department overtime, ambulance service funding in 2024 budget
Auditors estimated that bills from LLockport ambulance services totaling $266,154 were more than 90 days past due as of Sept. 30
By Dale Anderson
The Buffalo News, N.Y.
LOCKPOROT, N.Y. — The City of Lockport has been advised to readjust appropriations for fire department overtime and operation of its new ambulance service after a review of the 2024 municipal budget, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli reported.
Auditors said they found that fire department overtime exceeded what was covered in the 2023 budget by almost $253,000 as of Sept. 27 and estimated that it would rise to $440,000 more than the amount budgeted by the end of the year.
Auditors noted that city officials expected overtime to stabilize or decrease after more firefighters are hired and now that the new Lockport Memorial Hospital is open. They cautioned, however, that the proposed appropriation for 2024, which represents a $260,000 increase, still would fall $235,000 short of what would be needed if overtime stays at 2023 levels.
As for ambulance service, auditors said that city officials had not yet developed a written plan for acquiring and replacing ambulances and did not include any money for purchasing an ambulance in the proposed budget.
Auditors further noted that revenue from ambulance service in 2024 had been estimated by a consultant and that bills totaling $266,154 were more than 90 days past due as of Sept. 30 and might be uncollectible. Auditors added that the city was not yet an approved Medicaid provider as of Oct. 11 and should not calculate how much Medicaid will pay until approval is given.
The City of Lockport is required to submit its proposed budgets to the State Comptroller’s Office every year as part of an authorization in 2014 that let the city issue bonds to pay off its accumulated budget deficits.
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