Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Niagara County Legislature is against a state bill that would allow municipal fire departments or volunteer fire companies to charge fees for emergency medical services.
The bill, A4113 in the Assembly and S3262 in the Senate, would actually hurt the volunteer fire companies of Niagara County, said Legislator David E. Godfrey, R-Wilson. Increased competition and confusion over the billing and budgeting process would be an issue, he said. And it would hurt other medical transport service providers.
“These would become problems,” Godfrey said.
County lawmakers voted unanimously Tuesday night for a resolution, sponsored by Godfrey and Legislator Jason A. Zona, D-Niagara Falls, opposing the bill. Zona is also a Niagara Falls city firefighter.
Currently, fire department and fire companies that offer emergency medical services or an ambulance service cannot charge fees for providing that service. The state legislation says doing so would help offset the cost of Albany-imposed mandates or budget cuts.
If passed by state lawmakers, the bill would not require fire departments and companies to do so, however. It would take effect 90 days after the legislation is signed into law.
Last month, the Niagara County Fire Advisory Board voted unanimously to oppose the state bill, which is currently sitting in the Local Government committee for both the Senate and Assembly.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, county lawmakers:
• Accepted bids concerning the construction of a vehicle and property storage facility for the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.
R.B. Mac Construction Co. of Lockport was the lowest responsible bidder as general contractor, with a $663,000 tab. The money will come from the Sheriff’s Office general fund budget and unappropriated fund balance.
CIR Electrical of Buffalo was awarded the electrical contract with a low bid of $118,880. Parise Mechanical of Tonawanda was awarded the mechanical contract with a low bid of $59,300.