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South County EMS

Deerfield voters to consider two ambulance options

Special town meeting set for Monday at 7

DEERFIELD — Townspeople will decide Monday whether the proposed South County Emergency Medical Service becomes a reality.

In the auditorium at Frontier Regional School at 7 p.m., townspeople will be asked to enter into an inter-municipal agreement with the towns of Sunderland and Whately. They will also be asked to pay $255,488 to the ambulance revolving fund to meet the town’s share for the first six months of the service, which covers the remaining fiscal year. Sunderland’s six month portion is $155,366. Whately’s is $82,735. Both those towns have voted to join the new cooperative ambulance service.

The agreement would create a 24/7 regional paramedic ambulance service for the three towns. One primary ambulance would be based at the South Deerfield fire station, and a second would be housed at the Sunderland Public Safety Complex temporarily until a permanent home is found.

If approved by all three towns, the EMS director would determine staffing in November and the service would start Jan. 1.

Deerfield voters will also be asked to consider an alternative change in ambulance service: enhancing the town service from intermediate to paramedic and coverage from 16 hours per day to 24 hours per day for $124,928.

The Board of Selectmen originally placed the local expansion option on the warrant as a backup in case Whately or Sunderland did not approve the tri-town service. But some townspeople may still be interested in going it alone.

Under the regional service, Deerfield has to pay 51.76 percent of the cost or $387,990 for a full-year cost. The total cost for the regional service for the three towns is $749,595.

The Deerfield-only service would cost $352,931, according to budget calculations by Deerfield EMS Director Matt Russo.

Taxes would be cheaper under the Deerfield-only option as well.

For an average home value of $275,000, taxpayers can expect to pay $90.75 for the regional service or $77 for the expanded local service.

Other business

In other business, voters will also be asked to provide $42,500 for the town to buy a new unmarked police cruiser and $21,850 so the police department’s five cruisers could have new radios to communicate with state police. The highway dept. is also asking for a $40,000 pickup.

Townspeople will also have to act on medical marijuana treatment centers. The zoning bylaw proposed by the Planning Board would limit the facilities to the planned industrial district and the lower portion of the current industrial district. The planned industrial section includes the industrial park off Route 116 and the portion of the industrial district sited is south of Elm Street. The treatment centers would require an annual special permit approved by the selectmen.

Other money articles

One will ask the town to fund $7,900 to fund the first year of the three-year collective bargaining agreement with the town and the police union. The funding covers an educational incentive for new hires not covered by the state’s Quinn Bill and increases the shift salary for evening and overnight. The Quinn bill is a state program that encourages local police officers to earn degrees in law enforcement and criminal justice and provides an educational incentive through raises.

Another $10,554 will be decided for animal control officer services, and $4,270 for software for the town clerk/treasurer/collector’s office.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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