UHRICHSVILLE (Tusco TV) - City leaders have voted to approve a new EMS contract with Smith Ambulance, but officials from Dennison and surrounding townships say it’s not the one they collectively bargained for.
Council voted Monday to move forward with an 18-month agreement where Uhichsville receives a subsidy discount for responding to calls when Smith’s medic is tied up. Mayor Mark Haney says the arrangement applies to Uhrichsville’s calls only, and everyone else will have to pay more or find their own backup.
"I have to cover overtime costs when we go to a township to bring guys in. I have fuel costs. I have wear-and-tear costs. Not that I don’t want to be the good neighbor because we do. We do want to be the good neighbor but it comes down to how much pie do I have and where can I split it."
Uhrichsville is part of an informal ambulance coalition that includes the villages of Dennison and Tuscarawas along with Union, Mill and Warwick townships. Dennison Councilman Greg DiDonato says they collectively agreed to pass a three-year plan where Uhrichsville pays Smith $1.75 less per person and continues providing backup for the region. He says they want to continue their more than 20-year relationship with Smith, but the mayor's statement puts them in a difficult situation.
"We are not gonna be shoved around, ignored, and we’re not going to pay unreasonable rates for ambulance service when that’s not necessary. We have roads that need to be taken care of. We have infrastructure that needs to be taken care of. We have lots of things in our town that needs work way beyond paying a high price for ambulance."
Haney says the discount saves the city around $9,000 per year, but that doesn’t close to covering what they’d have to pay to back up the rest of the region. DiDonato says the city’s request for additional funds may force the rest of the group to terminate their relationship with Smith and go with a new provider. He says they’ll have to get together and make a decision before the company’s contracts run out at the end of the month.