TROY – Missisquoi Valley Ambulance Service (MVAS) and Troy residents are at odds over money, which could leave Troy looking for a new ambulance service.
Scott Rappold, president of Missisquoi Valley Ambulance Service, asked for $23,460 two years ago, but voters turned it down. At this year's town meeting, he again asked for the $23,460, and was again denied.
"Our expenses are exceeding our revenues," said Rappold. I asked the towns to kind of help out and pay the difference. Where are we suppose to come up with that kind of money?"
With the exception of Troy, all of the towns in Missisquoi Valley Ambulance Service's district approved the increase. Rappold hoped Troy residents would pay the difference between what he needed and what residents approved in 2011, but that didn't happen.
“After the meeting, I got an e-mail from Scott Rappold from Missisquoi Valley Ambulance saying they would not cover us for that price,” said Troy Town Clerk Terri Medley.
The town will hold a special meeting at the Troy Elementary Tuesday, May 15, at 7 p.m., for voters to reconsider the March decision and instead appropriate $18,585 for "ambulance service." If approved, part of the funds will be paid to MVAS for the first several months of the year; the rest would go to the replacement service, most likely Newport Ambulance Service.
"If I was to be a pessimist, it could ultimately kill Missisquoi," replied Rappold when asked if Troy switching to another service would be detrimental to his service. He said his service would lose a third of the revenue on top of the $18,000. Meanwhile, the expenses will remain the same. "I'm not a pessimist; we have a great relationships with a lot of the other towns. I'm sure we would come up with a new scenario with the towns that do want to keep our service."
Mike Paradis, executive director for Newport Ambulance Service, stressed his service and Missisquoi Valley Ambulance Service are not in a bidding war.
Paradis said if his service gets the contract, he would try to have some first responders near Troy. However, the ambulance would still come from Newport. “In our opinion, it will be a lengthy response,” said Paradis, who said it takes 15 to 25 minutes to respond to a call in Troy. It would be expensive to have an ambulance and 24-hour coverage near Troy. “That’s not doable for the price we’ve talked about.”
Paradis stressed that the Town of Troy approached his service and his board of directors agreed to cover Troy if there is a need. He also said his service’s prices might change in future years. Volume, size and capability is how Newport Ambulance Service can provide service for less cost than MVAS, said Paradis.
The price difference for a homeowner with a $100,000 home, between Newport Ambulance Service and Missisquoi Ambulance Service, is $4.40, according to Rappold. Between June 2010 and June 2011, Missisquoi Valley Ambulance Service had 102 calls in Troy, 112 in Jay, 24 calls in Lowell and 35 calls in Westfield. "We're one of the few squads around that is not paid 24/7," said Rappold.
Medley, who agreed that Newport Ambulance Service is further away than Missisquoi Valley Ambulance Service, said Newport Ambulance has personnel at the bay at all times. “We do not have any bay,” said Medley. “People are coming from their homes, grabbing the ambulance and going to the scene.”