Contract for Silver Lake rescue services headed back to committee

silver-lake-VHThe issue of a contract for rescue service in 2013 for Silver Lake village residents didn’t make the agenda of Wednesday’s Silver Lake Village Board meeting.

Instead the issue is headed back to the Emergency Government Committee for a resolution and recommendation, village President Jeff Albrecht said Thursday.

Meanwhile Silver Lake Rescue Squad Inc., the village’s current contractor, will continue to provide service until the issue is resolved despite the current contract expiring on Dec. 31.

Silver Lake has been considering discontinuing its long-standing contract with Silver Lake Rescue Inc. in favor of an arrangement with Salem Fire/Rescue for EMS with Silver Lake Fire Department firefighters acting as first responders on medical calls. Silver Lake Rescue is a free standing entity while the Silver Lake Fire Department is part of the village government. The village has been paying Silver Lake Rescue $27,000 a year for its services. In theory, the agreement with Salem could let Silver Lake keep the $27,000 it now pays to Silver Lake Rescue to bolster fire department funds. Proponents of that plan said the fire department is in need of attention and funding or it might cease to exist in a few years time. Without its own department, insurance rates would likely increase for village residents. Under the proposed agreement with Salem, Salem would not charge the village a fee, but would be able to bill patients in Silver Lake for services. Salem officials estimate they could take in $15,000-$30,000 in annual revenue under the agreement.

The agreement with Salem Fire/Rescue was voted down last Wednesday at a special Village Board meeting after extensive discussion. Albrecht said after the last meeting that he cast the deciding vote against the Salem contract — despite supporting its passage — to preserve his chance to call for reconsideration of the measure. Typically that has to come at the next possible opportunity, which appears to have been Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, Silver Lake Rescue submitted a new proposal last last week that significantly reduces the retainer fee paid compared to recent years. Rescue officials hope the new terms and two-year time frame will give the village’s Silver Lake Fire Department and the rescue squad, a free-standing corporation, time to work out a mutually beneficial future, said Dan Gerber, Silver Lakes Rescue Squad Inc., president.


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