Squad’s needs should come first

Princeton Packet
25 November 1981

Squad’s needs should come first

Princeton Borough Council appears to have its priorities out of order. Certainly the four members who voted in favor of hiring a consultant to study space needs at borough hall can rationalize their votes. But the study, regardless of the rationalizations, is not as pressing as the continuing problem of the rescue squad.

The Borough Council has refused to enter into an on-going arrangement with Princeton Township to cover the costs of paid daytime rescue squad members. In the first year of operation the township paid two thirds, the borough one-third of the salaries. This year the borough made a “contribution” of $5,000, $3,000 below its one-third share. The borough did finally come up with the additional funds, but made it clear it had no intention of committing itself to any formula in the years to come.

There are space problems in borough hall. The police are especially cramped and it hinders their operation. Undoubtedly the space study can be handled by a bond issue which will not affect the cap law portion of the budget. Salaries for crew members cannot be handled that way. So the temptation is to do that which can be done with the least fuss.

It simply doesn’t wash. The Princetons must have 24-hours- a-day rescue operations. Experience has shown that it is impossible to provide such operations during daytime hours with volunteers. The alternative is paid paramedics.

Some council members have suggested a user-fee method of financing the daylight service. In addition to the fact that this would be too tentative a method of meeting a payroll, it also would throw another burden on those who can least afford it — the elderly and poor.

We would have no problem in supporting the space study proposal if council can give assurance that it will meet its moral — if not legal — obligations to the rescue squad.

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