W. Caln again seeks fuels costs from W. Brandywine

Townships still in dispute over paying ambulance fuel costs

By Jamie Richard, Staff Writer, The Times

West Caln supervisors are asking West Brandywine supervisors to chip in on fuel costs for the Westwood EMT unit that covers the two townships. Since replacing the Martins’ Corner EMT unit, West Caln has paid all fuel costs for both townships.

WEST BRANDYWINE – Thursday’s board of supervisors meeting featured a presentation from West Caln supervisors, seeking aid in paying for fuel costs for the Westwood ambulance service.

Westwood has been providing ambulance service to both townships since last August when Martin’s Corner discontinued its ambulance service. Under the current contract, West Caln pays for all fuel expenses; the contract expires at the end of the year.

West Caln Board Chairman Paul Pfitzenmeyer spoke before the board, asking West Brandywine to contribute to fuel costs. According to Pfitzenmeyer, approximately 49% of Westwood’s calls come from West Brandywine, whereas only 36% of the calls come from West Caln.

“We’re asking for you to chip in and help us,” said Pfitzenmeyer.

Board President Josef Obernier stated that he was willing to help West Caln pay for fuel, but only after the initial contract expires. Obernier explained that, when the contract was initially created, West Brandywine was financially unable to provide funds for fuel costs.

“We weren’t in a position then to accommodate, but I feel that we are now in that position…I’m okay to do that and request Brandywine’s part when the contract renews,” said Obernier.

Supervisor Tom McCaffrey stated that he would prefer to examine how other municipalities handle their ambulance services and potentially rebid the contract in hopes of finding a better deal for the township. Prior to the current contract, West Brandywine did not pay any costs for ambulance service and McCaffrey expressed hesitance to start doing so.

“I don’t want to open a door that’s always been closed,” said McCaffrey.

Obernier reminded McCaffrey that Westwood now provides West Brandywine with full-time ambulance service, whereas Martin’s Corner was only part-time. Pfitzenmeyer added that Westwood needs fuel compensation to stay in business and offer the same level of service they currently provide.

“Maybe now is the time to support them rather than wait until it snowballs and we don’t have any ambulance service,” said Pfitzenmeyer.

Supervisor William Webb was not in attendance, although Obernier reminded the audience that Webb had made previous statements regarding his unwillingness to renegotiate the contract before it expired.

A joint meeting has been scheduled on Sept. 24 for the two townships to further discuss the ambulance contract.

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