Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Christiana ambulance seeks tax
Sadsbury board hears plea from association for emergency management services levy Christiana ambulance seeks tax BY DEBBIE WYGENT, Correspondent
Directors of the Christiana Community Ambulance Association on Feb. 5 told Sadsbury Township supervisors the ambulance company is in danger of closing without the solid annual funding that could be provided from an emergency management services tax.
"We need financial support or we're not going to have a local ambulance," said Hank Oleyniczak of the association's board of directors.
Oleyniczak said skyrocketing payroll costs left the association with an $89,000 deficit at the end of 2012.
"This is 100 percent driven by the fact that we don't get volunteers anymore and we have to pay staff," Oleyniczak said. He said that extensive, legally required EMS training has changed emergency ambulance work from a community service to a profession.
There are now only eight volunteers who help the organization provide round-the-clock service, and payroll expenses were $340,077 of the association's total budget of $485,334 in 2012.
The ambulance association maintains two basic life support ambulances, one from its Pine Creek Drive base and one that is parked in Bart Township. A Christiana ambulance was first on the scene at the Nickel Mines School shooting.
"It's not a sales-driven business, it's an as-needed service," explained Rick Ely of the association's board of directors.
According to the organization's profit-and-loss statement, income is derived from subscriptions, donations and medical insurance payments following calls.
"There is no way to increase our cash flow," Ely said, adding that volunteers have begun to hold fundraisers beyond the annual subscription drive.
Supervisor Eugene Lammey said he was not surprised by the request.
"I've been waiting for the time for you to say we need help," Lammey said. "It's something we should look at for next year."
Supervisor Linda Swift said a per-capita tax is difficult to track because of rental units.
Oleyniczak said the ambulance company is technically supposed to receive part of a municipality's fireman's relief fund, but that money is also needed by the fire company.
"If we take money from the fire company, they can't do their job," he said.
The ambulance association answered 152 calls last year in Sadsbury Township. That was 14 percent of the company's 1,088 total calls.
Oleyniczak suggested a $12,500 contribution from Sadsbury Township, which is equal to 14 percent of the ambulance company's $89,000 deficit.
"We'll see what we can do," said Lammey, noting that how to help the ambulance company will be an ongoing discussion in the coming months.
Supervisors also said its road crew has installed speed bumps and traffic calming signs on Pine Creek Drive in response to resident complaints about cars and buggies speeding and failing to stop.
"We've taken some action that will get folks talking," Supervisor Greg Esh said.
"For the time being, let's leave them out there and see what happens," Lammey said.
Roadmaster Bill Davis told supervisors he had found a company willing to take down the last remaining farm bridge over the Enola rail-trail. Supervisors unanimously approved allowing Bill Morrison of Morrison Estimating to remove the bridge and use it for scrap.
Supervisors have said in the past year that they would consider opening the trail for public use when the bridge -- which they consider a safety liability for trail users -- is gone.
In another matter, supervisors said the road crew should proceed with making necessary repairs to Meetinghouse Road before abandoning the road and turning ownership back to two property owners.
The board also approved a health insurance change for Swift, who also serves as township secretary.
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