A later expected start date of Oct. 1 for a new paramedic service influenced the Board of Finance's decision to add $210,000 to the operating budget being proposed for fiscal year 2012-13.
Board members agreed to do so after a discussion with Emergency Medical Service Commission Chairman Dennis Condon and fellow commissioners Diane Czerniawski and Paul Resnick at a budget workshop at Chalk Hill School Thursday.
The Board of Finance will take an official vote on the total town budget proposal at its meeting scheduled for Wednesday night.
The Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service currently is under contract with AMR, a private paramedic service whose rates continue to soar. Having its own paramedic will allow the town to have one in-house 24/7 rather than primarily as an intercept on the way to the hospital, to get some control over the costs and to make more of the revenue for providing an ambulance service.
EMS originally asked for $360,000 in seed money to apply to the state for its own paramedic service — which would allow it to provide advanced life support. The figure included equipment and two vehicles.
However, Condon said EMS will pursue an option of hiring a service where the paramedics have their own equipment and cars.
A paramedic would cost about $280,000 and Condon anticipated a start date in August pending a successful state application. Board of Finance Chairman Mark Reed wanted to be more conservative and instead anticipate an Oct. 1 start date, bringing the first year cost down to about $210,000.
The Town Council had previously voted to use $360,000 from the undesignated fund balance for the seed money, but the Board of Finance does not want to draw it down because bond rating agencies favor a higher fund balance. This move instead would have the money included in the operating budget.