Amherst Fire Department chief Tim Nelson that his already overburdened department will pick up the slack created by the cost cutting hours reduction UHS will institute in January.
Of course the Chief will be too nice to respond to the response, so I'll do it for him: poppycock!
First off, the $346,000 Ms. Daly cites as payments to the town from UMass for ambulance services seems like a lot...until you factor in the $4 million operation cost of AFD with 25% of their time spent servicing UMass.
And the amount looks downright stingy when you compare the $1,100,000 Payment In Lieu Of Taxes Burlington, with the same population as Amherst, receives from the University of Vermont (9,000 undergrads, 1,350 grad students)--three times what the significantly larger University of Massachusetts (20,000 undergrads, 5,000 grad students) pays Amherst!
That $1.1 million is for fire services only as the University of Vermont has its own ambulance service--which it provides to the town.
Ms Daley freely admits, "The clinic treats an average of just four to seven patients after 8 p.m. weeknights, and about half that many on weekends." So what are those folks going to do when UHS is closed during their time of need? Certainly many of them--since the Cooley Dickinson Hospital is such a long walk--are going to call AFD.
On the night before the great Halloween weekend storm, at one point all five Amherst ambulances were engaged (dealing with passed out drunk students), so just one extra call that night would have overtaxed the system.
While it may indeed make economic sense to reduce the hours at UHC, it is still irresponsible for the University to reap those savings by passing the problem along to somebody else.
Director of UHS response to Chief Nelson