Fact checking the true cost of excellent EMS for Edgemont
Some incorporation opponents have repeatedly asserted that the EIC “missed” $1 million of emergency medical services (EMS) costs. We’ve explained numerous times where the feasibility study included funding for EMS. But anti-incorporators continue to dramatically inflate this expense in the hope it will distract Edgemonters from the exciting opportunity incorporation offers for accountable local government, increased services, and tax relief.
The claim that the village will require $1 million of additional EMS costs is not supported by any expert opinion, coherent analysis, or examples from other municipalities. Moreover, it assumes Edgemont’s governing body would foolishly build an expensive, redundant, “ground-up,” and independent EMS operation rather than sharing the service with other public safety agencies as the Town does for us today, or contracting with a third-party.
If Edgemont does not contract with Greenburgh for police and EMS, our elected officials, acting responsibly, would not build a separate EMS agency when we have the following far superior options:
1. Sharing the service with the village police department like Greenburgh does today with its police department. The Town itself doesn’t have an independent EMS agency or EMS line item in the “B” budget, but rather combines the function with police patrols and embeds the costs in GPD salaries (which means the unincorporated area loses law enforcement resources when there is a medical emergency). Again, this police/EMS “double-duty” approach is also an option for Edgemont if we establish a village police force, and the associated EMT stipends were provided for in the EIC feasibility study. (Budget scenario here http://bit.ly/2tOT6CD.)
2. Consolidating all EMS services into the village fire department. Edgemont already pays $9 million annually for a professional EMS operation (our fire district) that responds to every medical call in Edgemont through its firefighter/EMT “double-duty” program. Adding ambulance transport, and even paramedic capabilities, to our established EMS infrastructure is a logically sound and financially viable option. (Budget scenario here http://bit.ly/2lHA39T.)
(We note that Greenville Fire District/EMS, including all its assets, becomes part of the Village upon incorporation. That puts the total Edgemont Village budget, inclusive of fire/EMS, over $27 million. Any comparisons to the Village of Hastings—which is larger in population—should recognize that Hastings operates on 40% less revenue for the same services.)
3. Contracting with a third-party. Over 400,000 residents of lower Westchester receive EMS from Empress, the largest provider in the county and a primary mutual aid backup agency for New York City. Given Empress’ scale, Edgemont could enjoy village-based 24/7 dedicated paramedic service (which we don't have today) and improved ambulance response times. Empress has estimated this cost at $400,000 for Edgemont, a very minor 1.5% of our $27 million revenues. Empress can design other approaches for the community as well. (Budget scenario here http://bit.ly/2lzx5Eh.)
Given these excellent options — all detailed at http://edgemont2017.org/ambulance — no thoughtful, well-run government would even consider spending $1 million for an independent Edgemont Village EMS agency unless, for some reason, you believe:
-An elected Edgemont government would seek to inflate its own expenditures through redundancy;
-Elected Edgemont residents are incapable of understanding and implementing “shared-service” concepts;
-The 400,000 Westchester residents currently served by Empress receive subpar EMS; or
-Our elected Edgemont officials will move the village to rural Oregon.
Of course, there are many ways to load unnecessary expenses onto a proposed village—or any new undertaking, for that matter—to “poison” the projections and inject fear, uncertainty, and doubt. In 2005, opponents of incorporation insisted that any village financial model must include the purchase of land for a pool and community center. Today, opponents are demanding an expensive, but patently illogical, EMS structure.
Nonetheless, even the $1 million far-fetched EMS “model” would not pierce the Village of Edgemont's surplus, so great is our financial feasibility and so promising is our opportunity for enhanced services, tax relief, and a better Edgemont.