Saugerties Town officials say third ambulance for Diaz would cost taxpayer $60

Saugerties Town Supervisor Fred Costello said it would cost the average taxpayer about $60 a year to add and staff a third ambulance for Diaz Ambulance, but such a move would require overriding the state’s two percent property tax cap.

The Town has set a public hearing for overriding the cap on Wednesday, November 3, 6 p.m., at the Senior Center at 207 Market Street. A public hearing for the Town budget will follow at 6:30 p.m. before the regular Town Board meeting at 7 p.m. that night.

Costello said the request for a third car comes as Diaz is facing inflationary pressure on wages at the same time it’s facing a huge increase in calls exceeding the capacity of the present two-car arrangement.

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Diaz staffers and area volunteer firefighters have attended several previous board meetings to plead for help. Firefighters, all-volunteer, often help pitch in with medical calls, but even then, patients had to wait for mutual aid ambulances, which sometimes came from as far away as Hyde Park or beyond.

“There’s plenty of documentation to warrant the increase in people power and resources,” Costello said, lending his support to Diaz’s request. “There have been critical calls where if there was not someone there with medical response experience, they may not have had a successful outcome.”

He said the Town is in the throes of budget season and increased EMS demands are certain to be a large part of the narrative in this year’s budget and admitted it will force the Town to exceed the two percent cap. That said, the Town will continue to do its best to balance needed services with keeping taxes in check, the supervisor added.