No new ambulance for Shandaken

By Jay Braman Jr.
When Shandaken Ambulance squad members wake up Christmas morning they won’t find a shiny new ambulance parked underneath their Christmas tree.At their December meeting the Shandaken Town Board has decided against buying one, despite the recommendation from the department to do so.
Squad Captain Richard Muellerieile has been working to convince the town board that purchasing another ambulance is not only a way to provide better emergency coverage but also a move that is financially prudent.
The board went as far as requesting bids for the extra ambulance, which would bring the fleet to a total of three, not including the “fly cars” used by paramedics to get to the scene of an accident faster.
But that’s as far as it went.
Muellerieile had recommended such a purchase to the board, providing extensive documentation that doing so could save the town upwards of $20,000 a year by adding a third ambulance, reducing the miles driven annually on each of three vehicles to better maintain readiness and the opportunities to generate revenue.
Such a purchase, however, would cost about $60,000 which would need to be funded either by municipal loan or from the town’s remaining Good Neighbor Funds provided in 1998 by the city and of which about $400,000 remains. Board members had clearly reviewed the squad’s proposal carefully, and all expressed appreciation for Muellerleile’s work in assembling the information.
“I personally think it’s a sound investment,” said Supervisor Peter DiSclafani, “”and I see the wisdom in Rich’s proposal.”
But a consensus of the board concluded that it would be better to defer such a purchase.
“We have to make do with what we have,” said Councilman Vincent Bernstein.