OSWEGO, NY – The towns of Minetto, Oswego and Scriba recently took action to
seek a review of the city of Oswego Fire Department’s Ambulance Service
Certificate by the New York State Department of Health.
The three town boards adopted similar resolutions authorizing the town of Scriba to pursue a review by the Commissioner of Health of the city’s operating territory.
The current Ambulance Service Certificate issued to the City of Oswego Fire
Department identifies its primary territory as the “City of Oswego, Towns of Oswego,
Minetto and Scriba.”
The New York State General Municipal Law limits a municipality from operating outside of its boundaries.
The three towns recently contracted with Oswego County Ambulance Service (Menter) to provide ambulance coverage for the town’s residences and businesses.
The city of Oswego has publicly announced its intention to refuse calls for mutual
aid within the three towns.
“This is a matter of consistency and providing our residents with a clear understanding that their health and safety are our primary concern,” said Ken Burdick, supervisor for the town of Scriba. “If the city of Oswego is refusing to respond to emergencies in the three towns, then there is no basis for maintaining their current operating certificate.”
The resolutions and a letter to State Commissioner of Health Nirav Shah, requests that the DOH modify the city’s Ambulance Service Certificate to remove the towns of Minetto, Oswego, and Scriba from its primary territory.
“There are no safety concerns for our citizens, despite some earlier doubts raised in the community,” said Town of Oswego Supervisor Victoria Mullen. “We are very happy with the
performance of Menter; they have proven themselves more than capable.”
The action also supports Governor Cuomo’s initative to encourage municipalities to
utilize more cooperative and shared services, while at the same time lessening the tax
burden on local municipalities.
“We were invited by the city of Oswego to find an alternative ambulance service and we found a private enterprise, paying taxes in our communities, employing lots of people, that agreed to take over an essential government service, at no cost to the taxpayers,” stated Minetto Supervisor William Dodds. “This is clearly a win-win for the entire community, including the city of Oswego.”
While the towns await a response from the State Commissioner of Health, the ambulance service provided to town residents by Menter continues uninterrupted.
Ironically, Menter has already assisted the city of Oswego Fire Department by responding to mutual aid calls with the city limits since January 1. To date, the city of Oswego has not had an opportunity to reciprocate with the three towns.