The wheels are in motion for the Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service to have its own paramedic service. Dennis Condon, chairman of the EMS Commission, says bids have come in on an RFP and an August deadline for the long form to change its billing has been met. But deteriorating conditions at the headquarters its shares at the Jockey Hollow Firehouse still must be fixed, according to Condon.
A fly car used by the paramedic must be housed in a secure, temperature controlled facility — which is a contractual requirement, and Condon told the Monroe Town Council at its Monday night meeting that the firehouse has flooding and mold issues, as well as a faltering roof.
First Selectman Steve Vavrek said the town has a history of not maintaining its infrastructure, but is now looking into establishing maintenance plans for its buildings and vehicles.
Jockey Hollow Firehouse has six bays. The fire department uses three and one is left open for maintenance, while EMS uses the other two. The agencies are working on an agreement to allow two ambulances and the paramedic vehicle lines up front to back.
EMS has three ambulances and a mass casualty vehicle and all are rotated among its two bays, according to Condon. He said four bays are currently needed. Chalk Hill has been considered, but Condon said it is not part of developer John Kimball's proposal to use the former school building.
The newest EMS vehicle, an ambulance bought in 2009, is rusted at the bottom, said Condon, who added that the vehicle replacement program has to get moving.
Vavrek praised the volunteers for the EMS and the fire department for working together on an agreement on the housing of their vehicles, but Town Councilman Tony Unger expressed his belief that a town official should be responsible for guiding the volunteers in coming up with a plan.
The first selectman said guidance is being provided by his office and the Finance Department.
Town Councilwoman Debra Dutches suggested that the Public Works Department look into a maintenance plan.
Town Council Vice Chairwoman Deborah Heim noted how the fire department leases Jockey Hollow Firehouse from the town, then in turn leases space to the EMS. "It's very convoluted here," she said.
Town Councilman Nick Kapoor asked when EMS hopes to have its own paramedic service and Condon said it could be Nov. 1, if all goes well with the application to the state.