SCCEMS correspondence opposing the County's Emergency Services Municipal Cost Recovery Proposal
Commissioners Cozzone, Farrell and Costello,
As and EMS service manager, former President of the Chester County EMS Council, former employee of the County in the Department of Emergency Services and current member of the Chester County EMS Council, I would like to voice my opposition and that of SCCEMS to the Emergency Services Cost Recovery Concept that is currently being proposed. Specifically, the reasons for opposition to the proposal is as follows:
1. The 9-1-1 Center and Emergency Services costs that this proposal would recover support County programs. If they are County programs, it should be the County's responsibility to levy taxes or fees to support these County systems. The County explain the shortfall with their constituents and carry the burden of funding their services at the County level.
2. The municipalities are by statute responsible for the provision and financing of emergency services within their municipality. This includes fire, police, EMS (basic and advanced life support). The 18 municipalities that SCCEMS serves currently provide funding and have a tax structure to support these services. The addition of an additional fee for County services under this proposal could impact the financial support to SCCEMS and the other area emergency services. How would the County react if the municipalities sent a bill annually to the County to pay for fire, police and EMS services?
3. There is no statute to require the municipalities to pay this assessment. Would the County cut off 9-1-1 services to a municipality if they did not pay?
I appreciated Mr. Rupsis attending the Chester County EMS Council meeting in March to receive feedback from the EMS community. Most of what he heard from the EMS Council as well as the other Emergency Services advisory bodies reflected the views expressed above. We have a top notch emergency services system in this County. For EMS, it is a system in transition from an all volunteer system to a combination career/volunteer and soon an primarily career based staffing system. The impact of this is directly of the shoulders of the municipalities by statute. Levying and additional cost on the municipalities for County level services would be an unfair burden which could negatively impact the provision of emergency services and force municipal taxes to increase for services that the County provides.
I ask that you dismiss this municipal based cost recovery concept and develop alternative methods to support these valuable County provided emergency services.
Watch the Commissioners Hearing Regarding the Proposal