I offer a sincere thank you to Village of Owego Mayor Baratta and the Trustees for their action of establishing a municipal EMS department. It is an action that is long overdue. A political hot potato avoided or side stepped by past administrations, including ones I served on.
Mayor Baratta and the Trustees have done the Village residents, taxpayers, and our neighbors a huge service by ensuring that the same quality EMS services remain in place.
Mayor Baratta, in his televised interviews, gave excellent clarity that “the Village has always had a Village funded EMS,” but many have not known it because EMS operating costs were hidden within the Fire Department budget for years. Therefore the new change, necessitated by law, is that the EMS and Fire Department be separated; the annual Village EMS funding be separated from the Fire Department Budget and made specific to the new EMS Department. The same way it is for each of the other Village Departments where a budget has been assigned without it being buried inside another department’s budget.
This separation offers many benefits for the Village in that they will be better able to track and manage both EMS and Fire Department budgets with potential for savings and even earnings.
I have listened to the voices of “the Village board had no choice” as it was forced on them because of the Sweet Fund ending, i.e. the Brick Wall. While that may be true, it cannot not be denied that Mayor Baratta and the Trustees have stood their ground and ensured our EMS has a chance to continue serving us into the future. I preached for years on avoiding that “Brick Wall” waiting for us to no avail.
Thanks to Mayor Baratta and the Trustees, we bumped the wall but it was not fatal.
Mayor Baratta and the Trustees have done their part, now it is up to all of us to do ours and back their decision with our full cooperative support.
Again, “thank you” to Mayor Baratta and the Village Trustees.