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South County EMS

Deerfield workers concerned about overseeing finances of new regional ambulance

SOUTH DEERFIELD — As the South County Emergency Medical Service transitions from concept into reality, Deerfield town employees had one major question. How will the town handle the financial administration of the new tri-town paramedic service?

Deerfield is the fiscal agent for the South County EMS and any South County EMS employees will become Deerfield town employees.

But the Deerfield treasurer and collector’s office had a number of concerns including the increased workload, setting up financial accounts, insurance and policies as well as whether the service is an enterprise or revolving fund. There are also complexities with taking people on and off the payroll and benefits and whether all the EMS drivers will be insured to drive the different ambulances.

Deerfield EMS Director Matt Russo brought the questions to the Board of Selectmen at its Wednesday meeting.

The South County EMS is the first of its kind in the state. Because of that, the towns are braving new waters and trying to figure out as they move ahead how best to set up the regional system.

The town is working with Whately and Sunderland to form an inter-municipal paramedic service operating round the clock, seven days a week.

Deerfield Selectman Mark Gilmore, a member of the EMS Board of Oversight, said the challenges are growing pains.

“Things that are coming to us now are growing pains,” Gilmore said. “There was no one here to predict these things.”

Gilmore said the town just needs to get compensated for its work. He said the town should keep a record of costs and charge the two other towns their shares as agreed.

Selectman David Wolfram said many lingering questions will be answered once the board hires a full-time director.

Russo suggested the selectmen set up a meeting with the treasurer/collector’s department to make sure everyone knows how the financial aspect will unfold.

Interim Town Administrator Kayce Warren suggested the three towns determine what is expected of Deerfield town employees in handling the finances.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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