Council Discusses EMS Challenges; Tables Pair of Grant Proposals

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Photo courtesy EmergyCare

WARREN, Pa. – The city of Warren is turning to a Mechanicsburg-based law firm to examine its EMS co-ops with other municipalities in Warren County.

Page, Wolfberg and Wirth will also assist with preparation and negotiations and to “handle all aspects of EMS response time outside the city,” said City Manager Nancy Freenock during Monday’s City Council meeting.

The law firm will be responsible for assisting in the development of those potential co-ops with neighboring municipalities.

Fire and EMS response has been at the forefront for the city for some time. Local fire and EMS personnel teamed with municipal leaders throughout the county to conduct a study about EMS.

The city also entered into a pilot program with Pleasant Township last year where city EMS employees were stationed at Pleasant Township. The program ended on Dec. 31, 2020 after the township decided not to renew.

PROPOSALS TABLED

Council tabled a pair of grant proposals – one a multimodal transportation fund grant and the other from the Fish & Boat Commission to assist with the $2 million boat launch project.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz said the multimodal proposal would consist of a trail along the riverfront connecting Breeze Point landing to the base of Market St. along the Allegheny River.

The estimated cost of the project is $440,000. The grant would cover half of that cost, with the other half being incurred by the city.

“This area represents the new segment of the trail that is being systematically established in various parts of the city,” Holtz said.

This is the same application that was submitted a few years ago, but at the time that would have called for the city to incur 70 percent of the cost.

“I remember being for it then,” said Councilman Phil Gilbert. “I’m happy it’s back on the table again.”

The major snag, however, is that the early November deadline for application means the council would have to approve the project before addressing its 2022 budget.

“I’m not saying I’m opposed to this, but I can’t in good conscience allocate $220,000 of the city’s money without even having a single 2022 budget session,” Councilman John Wortman said.

The potential Fish & Boat Commission grant calls for $250,000 of city money. American Rescue Plan dollars could be used as a match depending on whether it’s federal or state funding that is awarded.

“This grant does require a 50 percent minimum match,” said City Engineer Chad Yursic. “However a Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission administrator indicated a higher match amount increases the chances of funding being awarded.”

The due date for the proposal is Dec. 30.

“Maybe a better idea is that this should be brought back in December,” said Mayor Maurice Cashman.

Added Wortman: “This is something we should do. We need to hammer down how it should be done.”