Would it be better for Brattleboro to use ARPA funds for other capital projects?

BRATTLEBORO — Town staff have estimated the startup costs for a Brattleboro Fire Department municipal ambulance service to be between $1.3 million and $1.9 million. The Selectboard would like to use one-time ARPA funds to pay for these costs.

I want to say at the start that I deeply appreciate our BFD. They are skilled, they are very hard-working, and they risk their lives for us when they fight fires. They have also been skilled EMS first responders when Rescue was last contracted to do the ambulance transport for $285,000 a year.

If, in the future, the town were to hire an independent contractor for ambulances, the BFD would probably continue to be the EMS first responders, as this is a service that most fire departments provide to the community since there are many fewer fire calls now throughout Vermont.

So, my question for Brattleboro taxpayers is: Do we need the BFD to become an ambulance provider or would it be better for the town to use the ARPA funds for other needed capital projects?

Some of you may remember that there were more than 40 projects that the town staff listed as valuable capital projects for these one-time funds.

In addition, I have heard some townspeople mention the desirability of a police substation downtown so the police can be more responsive to crime in that area.

We also know that the pool at Living Memorial Park, used by so many children and families, is in dire need of repairs or replacement - a potential cost of thousands, if not millions.

Do we really want to use this huge amount of money for an ambulance transport system that will also require annual operating expenses that will be significantly higher than the BFD required in the past?

This Voices Letters from readers was submitted to The Commons.

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