Letters to the Editor (2/11/10)

Feb. 11, 2010



Town Meeting and elections will be held on Tuesday, March 2. Please note that on Feb. 25, in the issue just prior to Town Meeting Day, the Observer will not run any Letters to the Editor pertaining to the vote.

All Letters to the Editor written in regards to Town Meeting and the March 2 election MUST be received no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, and will appear in the next issue of the Observer when it publishes on Feb. 18.

Please be aware that normal guidelines will apply, including a 300-word limit for all letters.

E-mail letters to editor@willistonobserver.com.


Bring on the roundabout

Some Letters to the Editor in regards to the roundabout imply that all of the voters in Williston are in unison and arrayed against the Selectboard in opposition to the roundabout.

Include me out.

I support the Selectboard’s actions and decisions thus far and remain in favor of the roundabout as the best of the options available.

Tommaso D. Rendino, Williston


Consider ambulance benefits

Contrary to what those who oppose an ambulance service have claimed, the proposal approved by the Selectboard deserves serious consideration. Please consider:

1. For over five years Williston residents have been billed for ambulance transports. A Williston ambulance will simply direct the revenue to the town of Williston from other agencies.

2. All operating expenses (billing fees, dispatching, wages, equipment, physicals, etc.) are included in the budget.

3. We will lease one new and purchase one used ambulance with the proceeds from the sale of two existing vehicles.

4. We are simply transitioning from our EMTs providing First Response services, to providing First Response and Transport Ambulance services.

5. Ambulance response times will reduce. If an ambulance responds from within Williston, it will take less time.

6. If there is no transfer of information or the patient, continuity of care will improve, and on scene time will be less, allowing the patient to arrive at the hospital more quickly.

7. This is an entirely new and very different proposal from that made in 2007, and does not contemplate hiring six full-time personnel. We currently have 29 part-time volunteers providing First Response. Adding the Transport Ambulance is a small increase in work in return for a large increase in revenue.

The Selectboard charged me with adding an ambulance service to the community, if it would not increase the operating budget, now, or in the future. The current proposal meets that charge.

The Fire Department has under spent our budget by $8,000, $62,000 and $53,000 the last three years. We budget conservatively and spend wisely. We intend to do the same in the coming years.

Please use the information from this letter, the upcoming forums at the Fire Station, or by calling me at 878-5622 to help you in making your decision.

Ken Morton, Williston Fire Chief


Williston does need an ambulance

I was recently reading the letter written in the guest column by Kristine Benevento (“Does Williston really need an ambulance?” Feb. 4). I felt the need to respond, not to the political side of her letter but to the part regarding the town of Williston needing an ambulance.

I am not a Williston resident, however I do work for a business located in Williston. I also have a 98-year-old great-grandmother living in Williston who has needed emergency assistance on occasion.

I first would like to say that the Williston Fire Department does an excellent job responding in a very timely manner to emergency situations. Last year my company had a pregnant employee having trouble breathing and severe abdominal pain. The Fire Department responded to our 911 call within minutes. The worst part about the situation was the wait time for the ambulance to arrive since it was coming from St. Michael’s. Imagine being a pregnant woman and not knowing what was wrong with you and feeling scared to death that you might lose your baby. The waiting time for the ambulance makes the situation that much worse.

So, thank you to the Williston Fire Department for what they do and to anyone involved in the decision of an ambulance for the town. It would be a huge improvement in emergency transport time to have an ambulance located in the town that can respond to the 911 calls.

And as for the “fire chief and his team” finding a loophole (as Benevento stated), thank you for looking out for the benefit of the residents and others who visit, work or travel in and through this town.

Jennifer L. Getty, Cambridge


Support the ambulance

On Election Day it is with sincere hope that the voters will support the operating budget of the Fire Department to include the ambulance. There is opposition to this much-needed service, but the fact remains that Williston needs its own ambulance. We are the fourth busiest community in Chittenden County for EMS dispatches, yet we do not have an ambulance.

As a firefighter/EMT, I respond to emergencies in our town and have seen firsthand how frustrating it is to family members of a sick, injured or dying patient to have to wait with us on scene until the ambulance arrives before the patient can be transported to the hospital. The supporting ambulance services that transport our patients do a great job, but the simple fact is that these services have to travel farther to reach our patients, resulting in longer response times and delays in transport due to the transfer of care. With Williston’s own ambulance, response and transport times for patients are greatly reduced, resulting in better outcomes for patients.

There is also the misconception that Williston residents will have to pay for a service that they have not had to pay for in the past. This is false. Every patient that is currently transported is charged by the transporting ambulance. Currently, Williston EMS providers do the first response work but only the transporting ambulance is paid. By Williston having its own ambulance, the revenue for transports would be directed back to the town of Williston.

The bottom line is that the residents of Williston deserve an ambulance. When someone dials 911, minutes can seem like hours. The patients I serve should not have to wait any longer than necessary to get to the care they need.

Jon Rock, Williston


Better service at a lower tax rate

Having our own ambulance will not only improve emergency service for Williston, it will save us money. Currently, Williston EMTs respond to any emergency, but then have to wait for other ambulances to arrive to transport a patient. In some emergencies, crucial time is lost. In addition, EMS services are valuable but are not billable. The ambulance service bills the patient’s insurance. So Williston taxpayers pay for EMS services but the town cannot currently recoup any of the cost. With our own ambulance, the town will be able to bill insurances for the services provided, decreasing the current EMS budget. Better service at a lower tax rate. Maybe even save lives.

Molly Backup, Physician assistant, Williston