Springdale city leaders want a solid business plan, proof of service from Lower Valley Ambulance Service

Before voting to support the cash-strapped Lower Valley Ambulance Service, Springdale City Commissioner Tim Basilone is asking two things.

Basilone wants to see a solid business plan and proof that the EMS provider can successfully serve as the city’s primary ambulance provider.

Basilone made these questions at last week’s township commissioners meeting, where the commissioners were discussing a request for funding from the seven municipalities that directly serve the ambulance service. The city of Springdale is one of them.

“It’s like when a business goes to a bank to get a loan, one of the things they provide is a business plan,” Basilone said.

Lower Valley Ambulance Service officials say many of the patients they transport expect insurance payments to use the service instead of providing the service. Lower Valley officials say this has made the nonprofit agency financially unstable.

As a result, Lower Valley is asking the communities it serves — Springdale Township, Springdale, Harmar, Cheswick, Verona, Oakmont and Indiana City — to donate money to cover operating costs.

He informed the community that he needed $50 per resident in each community.

In the city of Springdale, it comes to just under $78,000, based on its 1,557 residents.

At their request, Lower Valley officials have drawn up a seven-point short-term plan, the first of which is to get financial support from municipalities.

There seemed to be only one other point in easing the financial situation, which was to “continue to identify and reduce expenses such as office space, vehicles, etc.”

The remaining five items include hiring an executive director, renegotiating the union contract, increasing salaries for EMTs and paramedics, hiring and retaining more EMTs and paramedics, continuing community service and adding wheelchair van services.

“They need to come back to us, and their plan needs to have more substance to it,” Basilone said.

“You better come up with a business plan,” he said. “They don’t talk about how to do things differently to survive.”

Craig Alexander, the city’s legal counsel, said the city government is required to provide emergency services to residents.

“You have to provide EMS. You have to provide ambulance service,” Alexander told the commissioners. “It doesn’t mean (using) Lower Valley, but you have to provide it.”

Basilone questioned whether Lower Valley could continue to serve all of its communities.

“If they can’t cover every primary[community]we need to know,” he said.

City Manager Bill McElligott is scheduled to meet with Lower Valley Ambulance Service officials this week to relay Basilone’s requests.

He said he’s not sure how many communities will support the Lower Valley funding request.

“Most of the Lower Valley board members are from Oakmont, and I’m not sure Oakmont will stick with them,” McElligott said.

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