The Wayland Village Board unanimously agreed to withdraw its ambulance department from a consolidation study Dec. 13.

The withdrawal is due to the department not being satisfied with a recent draft of consolidation proposals.


The Wayland Village Board unanimously agreed to withdraw its ambulance department from a consolidation study Dec. 13.
The withdrawal is due to the department not being satisfied with a recent draft of consolidation proposals.
For the past couple of?years, representatives from ambulatory services in Wayland, Cohocton and Atlanta plus governmental representatives have been meeting to discuss the possibility of combining the services into one entity.
Steuben County Emergency Services director Michael Sprague has been the facilitator for the group; the Town of Cohocton has been the lead agency dealing with the Department of State in matters of the grant awarded to conduct the study.
According to Wayland Mayor Brian McCoy, the village board, as well as the Wayland Fire and?Ambulance Department, felt that the consolidation proposal would benefit Atlanta and Cohocton, but burden the taxpayers of Wayland.
According to McCoy, the draft calls for constructing a new $1.1 million facility in a yet-to-be determined location with paid medics stationed 24/7 at a first-year cost of $2 million, including starting salaries of $61,000 for a supervisor and $51,000 for an assistant supervisor.
Under this proposal, town and village of Wayland taxpayers would cover about 65 percent of the  total costs.
About three weeks ago, McCoy attended a Wayland Fire and Ambulance Department meeting where the executive board expressed it wanted the Village to go no further with the consolidation plan.
McCoy brought the request to the Village board, who unanimously agreed to pull its ambulance department out of  the study.
Steuben County Emergency Management Services director Michael Sprague said by phone Monday that he was surprised the Village took this route. The purpose of the current draft is to gather input from the stakeholders, including the Village of Wayland, and go from there on finalizing a proposal, he said.
If the Village had provided feedback and no one had listened, then he could understand the Village’s request to withdraw, he also said.
In Sprague’s opinion, the Village’s pull-out from the study was an arbitrary reaction rather than a proactive one, which could have provided the committee with the input necessary at this stage of the study.
Cohocton?Town Supervisor Jack Zigenfus said Monday night that Wayland has already fronted the reimbursable money to conduct the study; that the Village will not have to front any more money and that according to a resolution passed by the Village, Wayland’s ambulance department is part of the study until the study is finished regardless whether it wants to continue being part of it.
Zigenfus said the decision “was a complete surprise,”?and that, “It just doesn’t even make sense to me,” regarding Wayland’s vote to opt out before the study is completed.
He also said that the draft is intended to show the highest-cost scenario in order to give stakeholders a starting point for discussion.
But Wayland Ambulance Captain Fred Grambs said the study would have to require drastic change, which is highly unlikely, he said, and that the Wayland Fire and Ambulance executive board decided it wanted out before even receiving the draft.
He noted that Wayland taxpayers fronting the roughly 65 percent of the first-year $2 million is “way too high.”
That would be about $1,300,000 the taxpayers would have to shell out, which is the same amount as the entire town budget for Wayland next year.
Grambs said he figures the cost per call would run $2,308.12, of which $600 could be collected through billing, and the rest would have to be covered by taxes.
Grambs also opined that there aren’t enough calls to warrant a full-time crew, citing that as of  noon Tuesday, the Wayland ambulance departent hasn’t had a call in four days.
Last year, Wayland ambulance responded to 480 calls, Cohocton 100, and Atlanta 60.