Letter: Strong EMS services make good business sense
Drawing new businesses to small, relatively rural communities has never been easy. It's particularly hard to find the kinds of high-tech manufacturing that provides good paying jobs. There are a lot of things that help encourage companies to move to a town like Bennington — good schools, community engagement, solid local government, and tax and property incentives. Many businesses also look at health care.
Bennington is well positioned in several of these areas. We have engaged local leaders, a supportive state government, good, safe schools, and ample space. We have a high quality hospital and excellent doctors. We also are fortunate to have outstanding emergency medical services (EMS). EMS is a crucial link in the chain of survival, beginning life saving treatment before a patient gets to the hospital. This early care often makes the difference between life and death.
Bennington Rescue Squad has paramedics available around-the-clock so that patients have access to the best pre-hospital care available. The squad's heart attack care is among the best in the state. It also is recognized nationally, having won the 2016 Silver award from the American Heart Association.
On March 7, Article 17 of Bennington Town Meeting Ballot will ask voters to support Bennington Rescue with $207,459 of town funds. As a business leader in this community, I strongly support this measure, and I encourage every Bennington Voter to vote YES on Article 17. Here's why:
Most towns in Vermont provide financial support for EMS. The average is about $14 a year per resident. Some towns provide much more.
Rescue squads do not get paid for every call. For Bennington Rescue that creates a funding gap of about $250,000. The squad has done all it can to become more efficient, so it is asking for town support. Woodford and Shaftsbury already have said, "yes." Now it's Bennington's turn. The amount of $207,459 is Bennington's fair share, roughly equal to $12 a year for every resident. That's only pennies per day.
Without this crucial support, our rescue squad may have to reduce its services. That could lead to longer wait times for an ambulance. It also could create times when a local ambulance simply isn't there for you and one has to come in from Manchester or Williamstown.
Having quality EMS services is important to Bennington. Every day, the squad rescues people from car crashes, heart attacks, accidents, and medical emergencies. Great emergency services are a key part of a great community that attracts great businesses. I support them, and I am asking you to support them, too, by voting YES on Article 17.
— Don McKenna
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