The Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad, during a Feb. 7 meeting on the county’s 2017-2018 budget, asked the Mathews Board of Supervisors for a nearly 23 percent increase, as compared to the 2015-2016 funding level.
Bob Brown, vice chairman of the MVRS board of directors, requested $178,000 for the squad in the county budget, a $33,000 increase over the current allocation. The request was made during a public meeting held to allow residents and outside agencies a chance to express their views on the document before formal budget negotiations begin.
According to online records, while the squad asked for $185,000 last year to avoid having to dip into its equipment replacement account, the county contributed just $145,000 toward the organization’s operations. Facing a projected deficit for the upcoming fiscal year of $32,618, Brown said the squad will not likely be able to place any funds in escrow for equipment replacement.
The squad has an equipment replacement plan that calls for setting aside $62,000 annually to replace each ambulance after it has been in service for 20 years and to replace each monitor/defibrillator at 12 years, said Brown. The cost of an ambulance is $248,000, he said, while a LifePak is $35,000. The squad currently has four ambulances, each equipped with a LifePak.
“Without adequate funding in the future, our ability to maintain high-quality, reliable equipment becomes compromised,” said Brown.
The squad has taken a number of steps to reduce expenses, he said, including eliminating a fifth ambulance, performing routine vehicle maintenance in-house, and reducing costs for building maintenance, computer and telecom equipment, and administration. He said the squad is also searching for grant opportunities.