Victor-Farmington Ambulance seeks more funding, proposes community tax

VICTOR, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - The Victor-Farmington Volunteer Ambulance is looking for more funding to keep up with the high demand of calls. The two towns may be forced to raise taxes to fund the important emergency service.

Between Victor and Farmington, 29,000 people choose to call these towns home. With growing populations comes more calls to the Victor-Farmington Volunteer Ambulance (VFVA).

"Last year we had about 2,003 calls, that's about twice as many calls we saw back in 1990," said Jim Hood, president of the VFVA. With the growth that we have seen, it's a pretty substantial change."

Hood says their financial model changed in 2011. Since then, there has been a decrease in the number of patients with private insurance and increase of Medicaid and Medicare patients.   

"Medicare and Medicaid don't pay us enough to roll the ambulance out the door," said Hood. "So when we roll the cost the ambulance out to those patients we are incurring a loss."

To meet the increase in response calls, Hood is proposing a community tax. This means Victor households could pay $9.16 per month, and Farmington households could pay $5.83 per month.

Victor Town Supervisor Jack Marren says additional funding could mean more paid staff and more equipment. 

The VFVA currently covers 93 percent of their calls. With additional funding, the response rate would climb to  99 percent.

"The challenge he may have outlined is the actually the square miles that they have to cover in those two respective towns -- 129 square miles," said Marren. "When you have only one team on duty that's tough."

Seven percent of their calls are assigned out to other municipalities, which could mean longer wait times. 

"We are seeing an increase in senior living communities, people 65-85 are twice as likely to request the ambulance," said Hood. "The people that are moving here love the Finger Lakes lifestyle."

The VFVA tell us with more funding, someone is guaranteed to pick up every time a resident calls 911. 

If approved, the community tax would begin in 2018.

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