At a recent West Milford council budget meeting, I spoke up about the excessive budget request by the West Milford ambulance squad for hundreds of thousands of dollars of our tax money.This appeared to be in stark contrast to the Greenwood Lake ambulance squad, which receives far less money from public donations, and requested none of our tax dollars.As Ive donated thousands of dollars to the West Milford squad over the years, and know that many others have made consistently strong annual donations, I couldnt understand why the squad might need such large amounts from the town.
I could understand why ambulance rig #47, which is in active service, might need a new chassis.But I could not understand why it needs a new body or box where the patient rides, which Ive been told has a lifetime warrantee. Also, I couldnt understand why the ambulance would cost $33,000 more than the prior years purchase and why there were not bids supplied with invoices from at least three companies.In fact no items in their budget request had company invoices.
I also couldnt understand the $35,000 requested for clothes and stipends for 70 squad members, when about half of those are high school cadets who arent allowed to drive or perform major first aid procedures, and who would be in college the following year spending time on their studies rather than on West Milford first aid work. The West Milford ambulance squad budget also lists $10,000 for a squad dinner, $1,000 for a holiday party, $8,000 for child care and $2,500 for refreshments. Are those items that our taxes should be supporting?
As I was speaking, Councilman Smolinski said that Councilwoman Ada Erik had put me up to speaking on the budget for his squad.I want everyone to know that I speak up on township issues that I care about, including how my donations and my taxes are spent.I do not speak on anyone elses behalf.
Doris Aaronson West Milford