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Amendment to Millstone code paves way for local EMS operation

MILLSTONE – As part of a shared services agreement between Millstone Township and the Millstone Township Board of Fire Commissioners to implement a municipally funded emergency medical services (EMS) operation, the Township Committee has amended the local fire district ordinance to create a new section for the service.

On Sept. 16, committee members took action to account for the EMS operation being provided by the fire district.

The new EMS section of the ordinance establishes the purpose of the operation, transfers the operation’s authority to the fire district and acknowledges the shared services agreement that established the municipally funded EMS.

The Millstone Township Fire District operates the Millstone Township Fire Company. Fire commissioners elected by members of the public are in charge of the fire district.

In June, municipal officials revealed their plan for an EMS operation that would be funded by the municipality. They said $260,000 had been allocated for the service in the 2020 budget.

Municipal officials said they needed a plan to provide residents with timely and affordable emergency medical services. Millstone Township had an estimated population of 10,400 residents in 2019.

“Once performed on a volunteer basis (by a local first aid squad), EMS now needs to be funded by the municipality to ensure our citizens are receiving the care and attention they need, when they need it most,” Business Administrator Kevin Abernethy previously explained.

“An outsourced service was being used to perform the (EMS) service in 2019. (That service) has increased prices to a point where the municipality cannot afford to continue with the contract and, more importantly, the service provided to citizens was lacking in timeliness and quality of service.

“We were paying about $9,000 a month and the provider collected the billable (services). The (provider) proposed to increase the fee to $44,000 a month and obviously, that is not a sustainable number,” Abernethy said.

All of those factors led to the decision to create a municipal EMS operation that will be provided by the fire company.

According to municipal officials, the advantages of the agreement with the Board of Fire Commissioners will be direct management of the operation, the ability to better control and forecast costs, timeliness and consistency in service, stability, increased community involvement and controlling costs for taxpayers.

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