Ancram cuts deal on rescue squad costs

Ancram town Justice Robert Wilcox (l) reads the oath of office to new town Supervisor Art Bassin January 1. David Lee photo.ANCRAM–The town has an extra $45,000 to spend on something other than ambulance service coverage in the coming year.

The $132,000 amount allocated in the 2010 town budget to pay costs associated with Community Rescue Squad coverage of the town has been reduced to about $87,000 for the year, Supervisor Art Bassin told those assembled for the annual town organization meeting January 4.


Mr. Bassin said he spoke to rescue squad officials and they agreed to cut back salary increases in the coming year to 5% from 20% and reduce the $100,000 amount they planned to spend on equipment.

Mr. Bassin said he agreed to pay the rescue squad a quarterly installment of the total amount on the first day of each quarter, which pleased officials in charge of the financially strapped squad.

Councilman John MacArthur suggested that rescue squad funding is something that needs to be fixed at the county level. But Mr. Bassin said that because some rescue squads in the county are making a substantial profit, they don’t want anything to do with “a county deal.”

Attempting to explain how one squad could be profitable and another in debt, Councilman MacArthur pointed to “call volume and the age of patients” served. If Medicare is paying only 30% of a rescue squad’s expense for a call, “that’s not covering [their] budget,” he said.

In answer to Jane Shannon’s concern about rescue squad response time to emergency calls, Councilman MacArthur said that depends on how busy the squad is and the location of the emergency. He said that mutual aid protocols dictate where help will come from if the local squad is tied up. If someone needs help near the Dutchess County line, they will have to wait for a mutual aid response from Greenport Rescue, even though a Pine Plains or Northern Dutchess Paramedic ambulance may be closer, he said.

In other organization matters the Town Board agreed to:

*Set a Saturday meeting date in the last month of the quarter beginning in March, to give second homeowners an opportunity to attend a Town Board meeting

*Authorize the town supervisor to change banks to make banking more convenient and less expensive in terms of mileage for the town

*Retain the firm of Rapport, Meyers, Whitbeck, Shaw & Rodenhausen to be attorneys for the town. Services will be provided as requested by the Town Board at an hourly rate of $175, with the exception of legal work to prepare public finance documents, which will have its own fee schedule. The Planning and Zoning Boards may retain legal counsel of their choice subject to the prior approval of the Town Board

*Accept the proposal of the Kleeber Agency to provide insurance for the town beginning January 4, for a total premium of $20,254, and approve the payment of this premium as billed.

The board made the following appointments and designations: budget officer, Supervisor Bassin; deputy supervisor, Jim Miller; historian, Clara Van Tassel; Town Hall building manager, George Wittlinger; assessor, Ken Leggett; building inspector/ZEO/CEO, Ed Ferratto; animal control officer, Gary Deitch; emergency preparedness plan coordinator, Joanne Dwy; registrar of vital statistics and records management officer, Monica Cleveland; Town Court clerk, Ruth Wittlinger; deputy Town Court clerk, Colleen Lutz; Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals clerk Suzanne Bressler; deputy town clerk, Ruth Wittlinger; deputy tax collector, Amanda Bishop; assessor’s clerk, Mary Faith Boice; deputy building inspector/ZEO/CEO, William Hunt; ZEO/CEO clerk, Marie McDermott.Official bank/depository, National Bank of Kinderhook; Town Court depository, Key Bank; town clerk depository, First Niagara Bank; official newspapers The Register-Star and The Columbia Paper; official dog kennel, animal control officer’s premises; backup dog kennel; Columbia-Greene Humane Society; representative to the Office of the Aging Advisory Council, Madeleine Israel; alternate representative to the Office of the Aging  Advisory Council, Adrienne Citrin; representative to the Columbia County Traffic Safety Board , Libby McKee; representative to the County Environmental Management Council, Jamie Purinton.

Official polling places District #1 Ancram Town Hall, District #2 Ancramdale Presbyterian Church Hall.

Authorizations, designations and salaries:

*The highway superintendent to spend up to $3,000 for a single expenditure without prior Town Board approval

*Set mileage reimbursement for town officials performing duties on official town business at the IRS rate per mile

*Accepted all county and state bids that apply to the town, including but not limited to regular gasoline, propane, heating oil, diesel fuel, stone, road oil, tires and culvert pipe

*Salaries set for elected and appointed officials and employees will be in accordance with the 2010 budget, as amended

*Designating the official meeting of the Ancram Town Board as the third Thursday of each month, beginning at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, with Saturday meetings to be scheduled at discretion of the board

*Clerk salaries are to be recommended by the department head and approved by the Town Board, with a maximum of $15.50 per hour

*Authorize the town clerk to advertise for, accept and open all bids presented before this board, with such bids in sealed envelopes, marked sealed bids

*Authorize the town clerk to purchase all necessary supplies, stationery and dockets not to exceed budgeted amounts included in the 2010 budget for such purchases

*Authorize the deputy town supervisor to sign checks without having them countersigned

*All conferences and training sessions that will be attended by any town official and paid for by the town in excess of $100 must be approved by the town supervisor prior to attending. Training and conferences that will be attended by the town supervisor and town board members and paid for by the town in excess of $200 must be approved by the Town Board

*Salary for the town clerk will be reviewed and revised to reflect her expanded duties and increase in weekly hours

*Per hour compensation for town hall cleaning services contractor will be $16/hr.

To contact Diane Valden email .

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