Talk of an EMS Authority continues, and now every taxpayer has the chance to engage in the process.
Erie County Executive Brenton Davis proposed the authority.
The administration is now hosting six public hearings for the authority, hoping to unite the community.
“So, with anything, you’ve got to engage all of the different levels… but something that’s public like EMS? I mean, this is critical,” said Davis.
One of the biggest talking points is how much the proposed authority might dig into taxpayer’s wallets.
Davis said a fee could be incurred by the authority. The price paid per household would depend on how many people would be served, and no business would be exempt. And while the exact rate isn’t worked out yet, Davis said it’s worth the investment, whatever it might be.
“It’s not a question of what is it going to cost, that’s measured in dollars. Really, the bigger question is what is it going to cost when we don’t? That’s measured in lives. And it was evident here tonight that this community gets it and they’re behind this model,” said Davis.
We spoke with one resident who supports the authority and said that something needs to change so people can get the help they need.
“Well, we need that. But the only thing is the time. My wife had to go in. They were there at a decent time,” said David Babbit, a Washington Township resident.
Babbitt said he’s fine with a slight fee, especially if other parties will chip in along with him.
“The city of Erie, they’re not paying anything and these manufacturing places, they’re not kicking in any,” said Babbit. “You’ve got to pay the fee, but we need the money for the ambulances and to run them.”
Davis is optimistic that the authority could take some sort of shape by the end of the year, but said they’re far removed from being able to operate and hope to garner even more support throughout this month.
“We had service providers that left on a call while we were here, and they came back. These are folks that support this. . . they’re doing difficult work, and we want to support them in that work,” added Davis.
The next meeting is Thursday at Girard High School at six p.m.