Village Of New Berlin Holds Emergency Meeting Over Ambulance Crisis

By: Zachary Meseck

Village of New Berlin holds emergency meeting over ambulance crisis

NEW BERLIN – The Village of New Berlin is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting tonight at 6 p.m. after the Town of Columbus announced earlier this month it was leaving the shared service to joined the Sherburne ambulance service instead.

Columbus officials had voice concerns over management of the New Berlin service and its financial burdens before making the decision.

The New Berlin service is currently managed by the Village of New Berlin, who contracts with three neighboring municipalities. But due to loss of income, village and town officials have been searching for possible private alternatives in recent months.

For several years the New Berlin Ambulance Service has been paid for by a contract between the Village of New Berlin, the Town of New Berlin, the Town of Columbus and the Town of Pittsfield.

Town of New Berlin officials said the service currently covers a 12 to 15 mile radius around the Village of New Berlin. The towns of New Berlin, Columbus and Pittsfield collectively pay about $100,800 to the village for coverage, and according to village documents, from June 2017 through May 2018 the service has cost the village $399,216.

Officials said Monday's emergency meeting would involve the New Berlin Ambulance service and the recent decision by the Town of Columbus to pullout out of it over financial concerns.

The Town of New Berlin has also voiced concerns leading up to the current finical woes, and has considered leaving the service as well. “The reason we’re discussing going elsewhere is the village has done less than what was expected on the financial end,” said Town of New Berlin Supervisor Robert Starr, in August. Since then the town has continue to try and agree on a plan with the village.

Starr said there has been ongoing issues with the ambulance's billing, as approximately 15 percent of the total expected income is lost due to non-payment. Officials said the service has been reluctant to pursue patients over debts, because many of them are older and have limited incomes.

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