Tempers flare over whether Catskill should contribute to county flycar system
Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media tensions ran high March 31, during a meeting of the Greene County Legislature Emergency Services Committee as officials debated methods of providing advanced life support services to residents. Catskill Town Supervisor Dale Finch told the committee that despite having withdrawn from the county's flycar system some time ago, the town continues to help support the service financially. Finch said he does not believe that should continue. “We pay $225,217 and we get zero service,” he said. “If we get additional service, we pay $520 a call.” Flycars are operated by paramedics that provide advanced life support, but do not transport patients. Ambulance crews provide basic life support and transport patients. Catskill has advanced life support services through their ambulance service. Finch argued that it would be more effective to upgrade EMTs to administer advanced life support than to contract with Greene EMS. Greene County Emergency Medical Services President Mark Evans said the cost to return a flycar to Catskill would be $437,000. Finch said the cost to upgrade two crews to advanced life support status would cost $174,000. Evans said Finch’s numbers were not comparable. “That’s the hard part trying to compare a medic flycar to an ambulance,” he said. “It’s very hard to compare apples to apples.” Finch said, “I’m coming in here because Catskill is paying, subsidizing the rest of the county, subsidizing your service, and our Catskill residents are getting nothing..." Evans noted that several towns have their own police departments, but residents still pay for the sheriff’s office. Legislator Matthew Luvera, who represents Catskill, said, “I don’t think it’s our decision to tell the town board what they need to do with their ambulance. The fact of the matter is, we’re paying for Greene EMS through county taxes already and we’re not receiving it,” Luvera said. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.