NEW BERLIN – Approximately 80 residents of the towns of New Berlin and Columbus – joined by a number of county emergency officials and other local leaders – attended a special public hearing concerning the Town of New Berlin’s application for a permanent Certificate of Need (CON), held Monday evening in the Unadilla Valley Central School cafeteria.
According to CON committee member Sally Gillispie, who directed last night’s hearing, the committee will determine whether or not the town requires its own ambulance service, in this case the Unadilla Valley Ambulance Corporation (UVAC). They’ll also decide if there is an absence of service that would necessitate such a determination; and if there has been a reduction in the availability of that service or an inadequate level of care. The town currently has a temporary, two-year CON agreement with the New York State Department of Health and Susquehanna Region Emergency Management Services (SREMS), a state-empowered committee that oversees Chenango, Broome and Tioga counties. The CON committee will release its decision on Feb. 28.
More than 25 of those attending the meeting voiced their opinion on the controversial topic, with the majority of those speaking against the CON agreement. According to the opposition, there’s simply no need for another ambulance service in the area, which was once covered by Cooperstown Medical Transport, the South New Berlin fire district and the Village of New Berlin Ambulance Service (NBAS). In 2012, the town contracted with UVAC, despite a Jan. 24, 2012 vote that saw residents of the towns of New Berlin and Columbus voicing their disapproval of the creation of another ambulance district by a five to one margin, 424 to 73.