Carlisle first-responders want compensation for calls they make to Cobleskill, but village officials don’t agree.
Cobleskill Mayor Becky Terk Tuesday night rejected the Carlisle request, saying “We don’t have the money.”
The request came in a letter from the Carlisle Board of Commissioners and also from Bob Smith, a captain in the Carlisle Rescue Squad.
Carlisle made 279 calls last year, Mr. Smith said, and 95 of them went to Cobleskill.
“It’s hard to believe you don’t have” the money,” Mr. Smith told Mayor Terk and trustees.
Afterward, Mr. Smith said his squad is looking for only “$5,000 to cover fuel.”
At issue is that the Carlisle Rescue Squad is part of the town’s fire department and by law can’t bill patients for calls. The Cobleskill Rescue Squad is separate from its fire department and can bill.
“Carlisle residents are billed by Cobleskill when providing mutual aid to Carlisle,” the letter from Carlisle Commissioners reads.
Mr. Smith agreed with the letter.
“Cobleskill bills. We’re averaging zero per call,” he said.
The letter also reads that Carlisle may stop mutual aid to Cobleskill if the village doesn’t pay up.
“Carlisle cannot continue to provide this volume of support unless financial assistance is received from Cobleskill,” the commissioners wrote.
Cobleskill already pays to have an EMT at the station during daytime, Mayor Terk said, adding that she understood that the county-owned ambulance gets called first if the Cobleskill squad can’t respond to a call.
Deputy Mayor Howard Burt suggested the Carlisle squad separate itself from the fire department, allowing it to bill for calls.
Several at the meeting, however, said separating the squad is expensive and time-consuming and might be difficult for a small rescue squad.
Mayor Terk also pointed out that although the Cobleskill squad bills, only a fraction of the patients pay.
Cooperation among rescue squads is common, she said in denying Carlisle’s request, adding, “Rescue squads help one another.”