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Oct 28, 2014 3:28 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Vote On Friday To Decide On New Ambulance Building In Southampton

Oct 28, 2014 5:29 PM

In a special vote to be held on Halloween, Southampton Village taxpayers will be asked to approve a new $5.5 million headquarters for Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance.

The vote will be from noon to 9 p.m. on Friday, October 31, at the Levitas Center, located at 25 Pond Lane.

The 10,000-square-foot building would go up on Windmill Lane between the Police Department headquarters and Lola Prentice Park, to accommodate the growing organization and keep up with state mandates. The village, which would issue 20-year bonds to fund the construction, hopes to start work as soon as possible, so the ambulance headquarters can be open for business in August 2016.

“What they have done is, they have gone from just a small-town local ambulance to an advanced life support program,” Village Mayor Mark Epley said this week of the ambulance company. “There are just a lot of inadequacies with the current headquarters. This new building is designed to meet new standards and long-term planning for the space, too.”

If the new ambulance barn is approved, a house valued at $1 million would pay approximately $146 per year in property taxes over the length of the bond toward the project.

The ambulance company first took over its current space on Meeting House Lane in 1993, when the company incorporated. At the time, there were approximately 20 members. Now, the company has 60 members, making the building too small for them all to attend meetings or training sessions at one time.

Company Chief Rick Fowler said one of the biggest concerns is space, citing regulations on how medicine and records must be stored by ambulance companies. Currently, he said, the company is not able to buy certain equipment in bulk, because there is no place to put it. Federal law also mandates that ambulance companies maintain records of every call for several years in a secure, fireproof safe. With approximately 800 calls a year, Chief Fowler said, the ambulance company is running out of options.

At the same time, not all of the company vehicles fit in the current building, making it necessary for the beach terrain vehicles to be stored in a separate storage shed that is not as secure from the elements.

A new facility would make it easier to follow standards and also give the crews space to move around, he said, adding that when both ambulances are in the bays, the truck doors cannot be opened without blocking off a path.

The new ambulance building, Chief Fowler said, would also allow more parking for responders. Currently, there are only four designated parking spaces outside the headquarters, meaning if more than one call comes in at a time, ambulance personnel often have to search for parking before responding to a scene.

“These guys leave their families and work to go and protect the community,” Mr. Epley said. “One of the things they are known for is training the community, and this will give them the training space they need for current and future first aid programs.”

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There simply has to be a better solution than spending $5.5M. Outrageous.
By rouff11 (9), water mill on Oct 28, 14 5:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
tell them that when you call for an ambulance. the service area is very small and outdated and considering the amount of calls, not to mention saving of lives, the money spent for the mandatory options plus the need for space far outweighs the miniscule tax increase. our volunteers (hint "VOLUNTEERS") are with the community 24/7/365 and deserve the taxpayer's support.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Oct 28, 14 5:36 PM
“These guys leave their families and work to go and protect the community,” Mr. Epley said.

Um, not just guys Mr. Epley. Many women are part of this organization too.

That said, let's hope the new HQ gets approved.
By Uncle Fester (61), Southampton on Oct 28, 14 6:52 PM
Where can voters examine the budget behind the 5 1/2 million dollar proposal? The cost at first glance is quite high. Voters need more information before casting an informed vote.
By allenfein (66), Southampton on Oct 28, 14 7:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Its a wonderful service that they provide and the volunteers certainly deserve our support.. New ambulances, training, equipment seems logical.. A 5.5M station house? Excessive and wasteful.
By rouff11 (9), water mill on Oct 28, 14 8:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
Not a village resident but I saw the voter flyer. Hard to respect a claim that says standing room only, when you literally print a picture of a "volunteer" sitting in a plush recliner.
By Genuin (26), Hampton Bays on Oct 29, 14 10:14 AM
I really hope that the people of the village realize that this building is desperately needed by the members. These dedicated men and women are there at a moments notice, they respond at all hours of the night and day, as well as SAVE tax dollars. If you were to replace the volunteer with a full paid staff. The budget for the village would go up exponentially, much more than what they are asking for the bond. Between salaries, uniforms, benefits, ect... that you would have to provide for each employee. ...more
By dauntless11968 (2), southampton on Oct 29, 14 10:52 AM
It's at simple as seeing the literature put fourth by the agency, and village showing why they need such new building. It's a shame people overlook the service that is being provided to them by such volunteer agency. It's a shame that for many, it's not until they need such EMS or fire service to help them or a loved one that they can appreciate such thing, and understand the NEED for the building. An adequate building to help the volunteers carry out such service should not be overlooked. This ...more
By theman (5), southampton on Oct 29, 14 12:52 PM
Obviously someone doesn't know what standing room only means. Standing room only is what happens after all seats are taken. I saw the flyer too, and it does appear to be standing room only. Also, why would someone from Hampton Bays feel the need to comment? Have you seen the ambulance buildings in Hampton Bays? Enough said.
By local resident 10 (19), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 29, 14 1:48 PM
2 members liked this comment
Nobody is questioning the good work of these volunteers but a larger building than the one that is currently standing - a building that meets their needs - should not cost anywhere near $5.5M. Most people would support a new facility that is reasonably priced but this is just a waste of money.
By pwrsprtprts (3), Southampton on Oct 31, 14 10:58 AM
People are entitled to their opinions, but the least they could do is be informed when they formulate them. Clearly anyone stating that the cost is excessive has no idea what it costs to build a commercial government building that would hold the agency's three ambulances, Polaris vehicle, and one first responder, plus fit the needs of 60 members (potentially more), as well as meet all codes and be ADA compliant.
By local resident 10 (19), SOUTHAMPTON on Oct 31, 14 2:06 PM
After reading the Ambulance Corps. marketing piece they provided , it states they volunteered 2700 + hrs. this year. Divide that by 52 weeks then by 60 Vollies and it comes out to less than 1 hour a week per person?
By 11953guest (47), southampton on Oct 31, 14 2:17 PM
A new building is needed.
By Mr. Snerdley (397), Southampton on Oct 31, 14 2:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
local resident is correct...to build a commercial government building, there are a lot of additional costs due to the required prevailing wage rate.

Anyone who attended the community meeting for this project, which was highly publicized, would know the correct details and have all the correct information before posting their opinions. According to the presentation, 2700+ hours was the hours volunteered just for emergency calls. In addition to this, there was another 23,000 non call hours ...more
By SHLocal (3), Southampton on Oct 31, 14 3:15 PM
hope the vote is a YES
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Oct 31, 14 6:28 PM
While it is agreed they need a larger facility, $550.00 per sq ft seems excessive for what is basically a garage. Also 10,000 sq ft is a very large building. Eight 15 by 30 foot garage bays is only 3,600 ft.
By bird (824), Southampton on Oct 31, 14 7:23 PM
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