May 26, 2015
To the Citizens of North Baltimore, OH
Three members of the North Baltimore Village Council voted at our last Council meeting to discontinue funding the paid staff of our EMS effective July 1, 2015. No reason was given for the decision of those members casting dissenting votes.
Acknowledging that current financial trends for the village demand a frugal approach, it is imperative that funding those departments specifically serving health and safety of the community should be the last to be cut back. The response times and number of “missed calls” for EMS service have significantly improved since a part-time paid staff was introduced last July. I find it confounding as to why a proven program was suddenly discontinued without any reasoning given.
It is also curious that three members Council chose to de-fund a department while council as a whole is moving to eliminate the income tax forgiveness for some of our residents. I speak of those who live in North Baltimore but work outside the community and pay income taxes to another municipality. Their income is taxed supporting that communities needs while they contribute zero income taxes to their own town’s support. I have been told by some that this is unfair. I fail to understand why it is “unfair” to ask that all of our citizens pay equally in support of those services we expect the village to provide. Removing the tax forgiveness as proposed is being written to allocate those additional revenues collected to fund the EMS with a twenty-for hour/seven day a week professional staff. Isn’t that what we want? What is truly unfair is to have need for an ambulance and not have anyone to respond. How much is it worth to you to have a professional EMT staff there when you need them?
The Public Safety Committee of Village Council has been diligently working to address growing concerns pertaining to our EMS and how to meet the growing demand for services. We continue to explore what options best meet the needs of our service area and how we can become less dependent upon surrounding EMS squads for frequent mutual aid needs. Currently we expect to be responding to about 600 calls for EMS service this year. The plausibility of meeting that with a volunteer only staff is unrealistic.
The level of medical service expected of our EMS has become far more complex than in years past. The majority of our paid staff members are paramedics and offer an advanced skill level geared towards Advanced Life Support. This level of professionalism requires training of more than 500 hours of classroom and practical training as well as on-going requirements for continuing education to remain certified. All of our squad members require extensive training and the investment made by the community as well as the individual EMS member at every level is quite significant. We have a strong core of volunteer EMT’s along with several Medical First Responders on the Fire Department, but realistically, we need more people to be involved. The most expeditious way of meeting our needs is to retain and expand our paid staff to ensure that we have personnel available when needed.
We also understand the need for a south-side response center and are engaged with other governing entities to achieve that objective by first ensuring that we have a fully functioning EMS so as to be more attractive in securing grant funds.
In conclusion, I am committed that as we plan and prepare for the future of the community, it is important that we not overlook the immediate needs of our citizens. We as elected officials have a primary responsibility to provide for the safety and security of our residents. No other responsibility is of equal importance, nor have as far reaching potential outcomes as does this one. As Mayor I intend to ask that another appropriation ordinance be introduced at the June 2nd Council meeting in order to argue the benefits of maintaining our current EMS status. I ask you as citizens to consider my position on this matter and contact me, Ms. Janet Goldner, Mr. William Cameron, Mr. Richard Rose, Ms. Leslee Thompson, Mr. Aaron Patterson, Mr. Arthur Patterson, or the Village Administrator directly at 419-257-2394. I welcome your comments.