Mayor Buckley: Other Towns/Villlages Can’t Keep Getting Free EMS Services

September 22, 2022

HORNELL, NY – At Monday’s Hornell Common Council meeting, the council unanimously passed a resolution, giving Mayor John Buckley the authority to negotiate with town supervisors and village mayors, about the Emergency Medical Services contracts. At that Monday night meeting, Buckley voiced his concerns that Hornell taxpayers have been picking up the expenses for the ambulance trips, made by residents of other towns and villages.

Buckley also stated during the Monday night Common Council meeting, that if he does not get contracts signed by other areas to get paid for ambulance runs, the answer from the Hornell Fire Department will at some point, have to be “no”, when asked to answer these out of town calls. The contracts are being written by Hornell City Hall Attorney Joe Pelych.

Below is a statement from Steuben County Lawmaker Paul Van Caeseele on this matter.

“Recently, the City of Hornell Common Council passed a resolution giving Mayor Buckley authority to negotiate with neighboring municipalities regarding the receipt of Emergency Medical Services. I fully support this resolution as it is a vital adjustment necessary to ensure that our fellow citizens living outside of the district can continue to receive these crucial services.

“There are many occasions where citizens residing in villages and townships surrounding Hornell call for ambulances and EMT services. If there are no local volunteers available, the call is transferred to Hornell, and their Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are released to handle the call. It is a privilege for the city to be able to provide these essential services to these outside municipalities, but the issue is in the liability of providing those services.

“The citizens residing in the city (including Hornellsville which is already under contract with Hornell) pay for the Hornell EMS service through their taxes. Those services were initially budgeted in relation with the city boundaries. Over the last few decades there has been a significant decrease in volunteer EMTs resulting from increased State Regulations and cultural changes. That along with population increase outside of the city has put an excessive burden on the City of Hornell’s Emergency Medical Service budget which ultimately rolls down to the Hornell City Taxpayer.

“That being said, it isn’t fair for the citizens of Hornell to have to continue to foot the entire bill for services shared by neighboring communities. And although it is our pleasure to be able to provide these indispensable services to our fellow next door residents, we should be able to ask them to help bear the cost as it is a reasonably moral request for any responsible community to honor.”

Paul Van Caeseele
Hornell Steuben County Legislator