Massena Rescue Squad holding its own despite high call volume
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
MASSENA — Village officials say the Massena Rescue Squad is handling a high call volume well despite intermittent issues with its aging fleet and staffing troubles.
During the village board’s Sept. 20 meeting, Village Treasurer Kevin Felt informed the board the rescue squad stood at a net profit of $54,496.62.According to Fire Department Aaron Hardy, the rescue squad is continuing to provide service “to the best of their abilities” despite an aging fleet that has seen one ambulance in particular prove to be problematic.
Officials say the rescue squad has maintained a 95% call rate, with 2,465 calls to date.
The high volume, though difficult, can still continue to be handled efficiently by the department, officials said.
Relief will be on the way soon however, as officials announced work has begun on acquiring a new ambulance that will replace the most temperamental vehicle in the fleet.
Bonds have also been signed for and issued for the vehicle, officials said.
The total expected cost of the bond will be $330,000, with the remaining balance of $31,191 to come from resource recovered funds. The bond is subject to permissive referendum, though payments for the bond would not begin until the 2023-24 fiscal year.
The bond agreed upon is for eight years, a slight bump up in term than was originally planned.
Mayor Greg Paquin said the decision to support a longer term bond would afford the village more flexibility.
Deputy Mayor Matt LeBire, who previously raised concerns it may cost taxpayers more money, had previously sought the opinion of Felt in regards to the feasibility of a bond. “My biggest concern is that this doesn’t impact taxpayers and the general fund,” he said in July.
Felt said he was confident the bond would be sustainable and would have no impact on taxpayers.
According to Foreman Hardy, the vehicle being replaced is a 2008 model year that has been in and out of garages for a number of months. The expense of parts and repairs has made it almost unsustainable to keep it in circulation.
Hardy said the vehicle in question has been in and out of garages for some time now and the cost had begun to outweigh the benefit.
Though there is not a set delivery date just yet, bond payments for the new ambulance are expected to begin in Feb. 2023, just before another bond on another ambulance is set to be paid off.