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Worries over essential services

Warren County’s looming EMS crisis — and make no mistake about it, crisis is the right word — isn’t going to be solved by one big action.

Chances are a lot of little actions will combine to make a major change in the way emergency services are provided.

And that’s why it’s disappointing to see one promising small step to address one EMS issue in the county fizzle out after a few months trial period. A pilot agreement between the city of Warren and Pleasant Township has come to an end, at least for now. What’s most disappointing is that the arrangement seems to have accomplished its goals. Emergency response was improved in Pleasant Township during hours when volunteer firefighters aren’t typically available to answer calls and Warren residents weren’t left terribly unprotected when Warren firefighters were stationed in Pleasant.

The pilot agreement fell apart because of money. The agreement would have required a 3 mill tax increase in Pleasant for the township to pay for fire protection for an entire year.

That’s a bad sign for future actions to help provide EMS services throughout the county. None of the actions needed to keep people safe are going to be free. County residents are right to be frugal. New York state’s profligate spending is a model to avoid. But we need to find a way to provide essential services in our small county without breaking the bank.

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