The Village News: Editorials

December 20, 2017

Proposed Tax Increase in South Country Ambulance District

Ambulance Co


EditorialOn December 19th, the Brookhaven Town Board held a public hearing to consider an increase in the funding for the new South Country Ambulance facility to be built on Station Road, just south of Montauk Highway in Bellport. The vast majority of those in the packed room were in favor of the increase, but a much smaller group was there to oppose it.

Let me say that these are all good people with an honest disagreement about how large and expensive this project should be. For almost two years, the smaller group has been successful in achieving a reevaluation of the project which resulted in a decrease in its size, but at the same time, as a result of the delay, the estimated cost of the project has increased. The recent multiple incidents of hurricane damage around the country has resulted in a shortage of building materials and labor which in turn caused an increase in the estimated cost of the project and bids which were received in September.

Ambulance Co

It’s time for both groups to back down and let this project get going. I’ve visited the current Ambulance facility, in the former Hagerman Fire Department building in East Patchogue, many times and it’s totally unacceptable. These people volunteer to be there when we need them most. To force them to work, around the clock, out of a building riddled with mold and mildew and totally unacceptable in size is just wrong.

I could go on and on giving you example after example that was brought up at the meeting as to why the South Country Ambulance Company desperately needs this new facility and why it should now go forward, but instead, I’m going to let you read the letter that former Bellport Village Mayor, Frank Trotta, asked to be read into the record at the meeting.

Ambulance Co

“December 18, 2017

To Supervisor Ed Romaine & the members of the Brookhaven Town Council:

As the former mayor of the Village of Bellport I am writing to express my and my family's support for the construction and expansion of the South Country Ambulance headquarters. The quest for funding for this building has been ongoing for over two years. When the plans to build the South Country building were approved, construction costs were lower. Every year things go up! The ambulance company has a multitude of supporters that want to see this building built. Unfortunately, there is a small and very vocal group who do not want to see this building become a reality. The reasons the building is needed have been rehashed numerous times over the last two years. Granted, the chief of the company is a controversial figure. Are the naysayers against the ambulance company or do they just not like him, his politics, directness or managerial style? It is time to put aside pettiness and personal feelings and think about the greater good for the community. The naysayers, with an axe to grind, should put their efforts into aiding the community, not tearing down the very people who provide life saving service to all. South Country Ambulance provides the highest level of service as recognized by New York State and every level of government to a community with very different and diverse needs. They also have the largest number of volunteers of any EMS agency in the Town of Brookhaven and they also have the highest 911 call volume of any EMS agency in the Town of Brookhaven. Most importantly, they are the cheapest per call 911 EMS agency in the Town of Brookhaven.

Fact: The original size of the building proposed in 2014 was 29,850 sq. ft. Together with the town and planners in October 2016 the building size was reduced to 26,076 sq. ft - roughly 15% smaller than the original proposal for a cost savings of $2,037,960.00. However, because of the delays as a result of frivolous actions the project is now costing 2.5 million dollars more! This is not the fault of South Country Ambulance!

The longer it takes to get started on this building, the more the construction costs will rise. Our property taxes, school taxes, library taxes etc. go up every year and no one seems to have a problem with that. There is no public outcry, no demonstrations, no lawsuits. We worry about the education of our children but what about their health and well-being?

Fact: South Country Ambulance covers the same geographic area as Shirley, Mastic and Mastic Beach Ambulance Companies and they have 3 buildings.

If you've never needed to call an ambulance you are very lucky. If the day comes that you need South Country Ambulance to respond to an emergency, you'll be very happy to see them. How can anyone put a price on that? Over the years, medical treatment, population, traffic and neighborhoods have changed. South Country Ambulance is still on the job with their volunteers each putting in over 800 volunteer hours a year for a total of over 100,000 volunteer hours to aid us. They are an exemplary group of people and they are on the front lines in the worst of times. They deserve a safe and clean building with adequate space so that the department can maintain their equipment and personnel at a level of readiness residents and businesses deserve and expect.

The proposed new building will enable the company to train on site, protect their equipment, have access to decontamination areas and meet legal standards for training and record storage — all of this for pennies a day for the average taxpayer. Voting yes to this proposed building is a moral and fiscal homerun.


Frank C. Trotta “

Ambulance Co.

Those who came before us had the foresight to give us Bellport Village, Brookhaven Hamlet, East Patchogue, the Bellport Marina, Squassux Marina, the Wertheim Wildlife Refuge, Smiths Point, Ho Hum Beach, the Bellport Community Center, the Montauk Hwy bypass creating South Country Road, and the Bellport Golf Course. Chances are, they didn’t get to enjoy these creations as much as future generations did. It’s time for us to “Pay It Forward.” Let’s hope that none of us ever need to call the Ambulance Company, but because of what we do now, future generations will be safer and more secure.


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Larry Sribnick

Larry Sribnick