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‘Very Excited’

City Council To Vote On New ALSTAR Agreement

ALSTAR EMS and city officials have reached a new ambulance service agreement. The Jamestown City Council is slated to vote on the four-year contract at its voting session meeting at 7:30 p.m. today. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The Jamestown City Council is slated to vote on a new ambulance services agreement.

During the council’s regular voting session meeting today, the group will be voting on a new four-year contract with ALSTAR EMS to provide ambulance services in the city. Earlier this month, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said, as part of the new agreement, ALSTAR will also provide a medical director when needed, the ability to bill for ambulance calls the city provides and to utilize additional services they provide like training.

“We are very excited and pleased to renegotiate an agreement with ALSTAR to provide ambulance services for the city of Jamestown,” Sundquist said.

During a work session meeting of the council on Oct. 19, Matthew Coon, Jamestown Fire Department deputy fire chief, said the last agreement between the city and ALSTAR expired in 1999, with the two entities operating under the terms of the old agreement for more than 20 years.

“We sorely needed to work out a new agreement,” Coon said.

At the same meeting, Jeff Russell, At-Large councilman, asked how ALSTAR will provide the necessary ambulance services for the city, with the Jamestown Fire Department answering more EMS calls in recent years. During Sundquist’s State of the City address in January, he said when ALSTAR first started in the city during the mid-1990s, the city’s fire department was only responding to around 50 calls for EMS service a year. He said in 2019, the Jamestown Fire Department responded to more than 1,000 ambulance service calls.

David Thomas, ALSTAR executive director, said ALSTAR is in the process of hiring and training more employees to provide more ambulance service calls in the city. He also said ALSTAR, which is part of WCA Services Corp., has the full support of UPMC Chautauqua.

In January, UPMC, doing business as ALSTAR, canceled its EMS services agreement with the city because the terms they were operating under were more than 20 years old. The previous agreement was signed in the mid-1990s.

In February, city officials requested proposals from ambulance service businesses to provide EMS service in Jamestown.

There was a deadline in March for the proposals, but, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the request was extended.

In February, Sundquist announced that other EMS providers have indicated wanting to work with city officials on providing ambulance services. Sundquist said he could not comment on the names of the other companies that had shown interest.

In July, Sundquist said city officials were working with the ambulance service providers who submitted an application to finalize an agreement. Sundquist wouldn’t say how many proposals city officials received.

In other business, the council will hold budget deliberations at 6:30 p.m. prior to the voting session meeting that starts at 7:30 p.m. The council is slated to review the budgets for the clerk, treasurer, assessor, comptroller, information services and corporation counsel.

Earlier this month, Sundquist released the 2021 executive budget. The proposed budget for next year includes a 17-cent reduction in the tax rate. According to the state Department of Taxation and Finances, the tax rate is determined by dividing the tax levy by the total taxable assessed value of all property in a jurisdiction.

The tentative budget also includes a $70,000 decrease in the tax levy. According to the state Department of Taxation and Finances, the tax levy is the amount raised through property taxes. Sundquist said the 2021 proposed budget is $1.66 million less than the 2020 spending plan.

The council is required to hold a public hearing on the budget and then vote to ratify the budget on, or before, Dec. 1. If the council doesn’t act by that date, the proposed executive budget goes into effect. The complete 2021 executive budget can be viewed on the city’s website at www.jamestownny.gov/budget. A hard copy of the complete budget is also available to review in the mayor’s office, city clerk’s office, and the James Prendergast Library.

The budget presentations and the voting session meeting will be held at the Jamestown Municipal Building, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic the meetings are closed to the public. The public can live stream the meetings by visit www.jamestownny.gov/live.

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