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Contract to cut ambulance taxes in Halfmoon

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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— The town of Halfmoon and the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Emergency Corps have reached a six-year agreement that will cut ambulance taxes for town residents.

Town Supervisor Kevin Tollisen and Clifton Park-Halfmoon Ambulance Corps Executive Director Joseph Santiago said the agreement will significantly reduce residents’ tax burdens while keeping the quality of care from medical responders the same.

The agreement will reduce the tax rate for Halfmoon residents 10 percent for the ambulance tax bills they will receive in January 2015, then incrementally more each year through 2019. That should result in a 20 percent overall reduction in the ambulance district tax rate for Halfmoon residents, town officials said.

The town in 2013 for the first time formed an ambulance taxing district rather than funding the ambulance corps directly from the town budget, as it has in the past. The new agreement is the first long-term contract between the corps and the town, Tollisen said.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with them. They’re second to none,” he said.

The district this year is collecting $1.1 million, or 76 cents per $1,000 property value. That levy will drop 10 percent immediately, said Councilman John Wasielewski, town liaison to emergency services organizations.

A family with a $200,000 house now pays $152 annually in ambulance tax. “Five years from now, that same owner will pay $121 for pretty much top-notch ambulance service,” Wasielewski said.

The corps is able to cut the levy because it is responding to more calls, and therefore receiving more revenue from insurance reimbursements. It responded to about 5,500 calls last year.

Just this month, the Clifton Park-Halfmoon corps took over the service in Mechanicville previously provided by the John H. Ahearn Rescue Squad, but Wasliewski said that wasn’t a factor in the new contract negotiations.

“This is the best of both worlds, and is a win-win situation for everyone,” he said. “Not only are Halfmoon residents receiving excellent emergency medical services, but they will be paying 20 percent less for it over the next few years.”

 
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