At Monday's meeting of the Public Safety Commission, members of the commission in reviewing the proposed budget variations submitted by fire department chief Gary Oullette, suggested that the department consider creating an ambulance service to provide an income stream for the department.
Oullette, in presenting his four budget scenarios demanded by Mayor Sebastian Giuliano of all departments (ideal, level service, level spending, 3% cut), suggested that a 3% cut in budget was impossible.
Commission member David Bauer suggested that the Common Council would be asking "hard questions" of all departments and that department heads, like the chief should be ready with real answers if a 3% cut is needed across the board.
Commission Chair Bob Santangelo suggested resurrecting an idea which has been around for at least 10 years, an ambulance service run by the Fire Department. The Fire Deparment currently has an EMT service which costs money, according to Oulette, but an anbulance service would make money, according to the chief.
Deputy Chief Robert Kronenberger, who wrote a study about creating a public ambulance service 5 years ago, suggested that it would take 5-10 years before such a service would show a positive revenue stream after start-up costs were covered.
Other obstacles stand in the way of creating an ambulance service. The town's only state-registered ambulance service is Hunter Ambulance, and the city would need to convince state authorities that an additional service was necessary.
Oullette, who initially said he was reluctant to make reports for the sake of making reports, agreed with the commission to explore the idea.