AFD North Station Friday morning 10/4, calm before the storm
The "5 Year Strategic Agreement" with UMass/Amherst, now well into its 7th year (expired 6/30/12), reminds me of a tech nerd who upgrades their older beloved computer using the Dr. Frankenstein approach of installing a new plug-in card or mother board rather than just buying a new computer.
UMass last year paid the town $363,718 for fire/EMT protection, mainly because UMass has its own police department (larger and better funded than Amherst PD) but not a full time fire/ambulance department.
Recently UMass coughed up an additional $80,000 to staff two town ambulances on weekends to deal with the spike in calls somewhat due to "substance abuse" calls (mainly alcohol). So at the very least, that extra $80,000 should become a permanent part of the new-and-improved "Strategic Agreement."
The Town Manager had an excuse last year for simply extending the agreement because, after all, he was only named Town Manager in 2010; and of course there was that coup d'état at UMass that brought down Chancellor Holub in 2011, although allowing him a lame-duck extra year.
UMass accounts for 19% of AFD calls
There's absolutely no question the extra weekend staffing is both vitally necessary and well utilized. In fact, the 1st weekend of October, even with all the extra staffing, AFD still had to call in two mutual aid ambulances from Northampton and one from Belchertown.
Mutual aid still required 8 times this past September, but down from an average of 15 in previous 2 years
UMass accounts for 19% of calls thus far this year. And with the extra $80K UMass pays Amherst for additional weekend ambulance coverage they will pay us a total of $443,718 this year. But AFD's budget this year is $4,114,438.
So their fair share (19%) should come to $781,707. And that extra $337,989 would cover adding AFD staff on the weekdays as well.
Because it's also apparent additional staffing is needed NOT just on weekends.
A Wednesday night delay