A Coaldale man who wants to start a Quick Response Team to handle medical emergencies in the borough was frustrated Tuesday when Council again delayed action on the matter to give its solicitor time to study the legal details.
At issue is resident Daniel Bird's request that the borough pay for a QRS team's liability insurance and, perhaps, worker's compensation insurance.
Solicitor Michael Greek advised council to wait until he could research the law to find out if borough code would allow such support.
"We are, under the borough code, allowed to provide monetary assistance to a community ambulance service. I'm assuming you are along the lines of that, but it's not defined. It says community ambulance service. This is not an ambulance service."
The borough might be able to use some of the money it raises through its EMS tax to help support the QRS team. "But you never directed me to check any of that," he told council.
Bird had brought with him a bundle of documents outing the proposed QRS team's liability and workers' compensation insurance needs.
"Most townships and boroughs provide worker's comp for their volunteer organizations," he said. Bird said that that is usually done as a donation.
Greek was skeptical. "Before they do these things, they need to know what the costs involved are other than just getting copies of these documents and getting the costs of liability coverage," he said.
Bird said the Lansford American Legion has promised a "significant" donation for equipment and training, but asked the QRS team also provide services to Summit Hill and Lansford in a pinch.
Greek was also concerned about that.
"I do have concerns if you're paying for the liability and workers' comp when…they are servicing other municipalities," he said.
Council appears to support the idea of a QRS team. Councilman Joe Hnat had moved to grant Bird's request for the money before Greek cautioned against it, and Mayor Claire Remington is in favor of the team.
Bird first proposed the QRS team in August, after St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital stopped services due to financial concerns.
Council in September decided on Lehighton Ambulance to provide Advanced Life Support Services, with Lansford and Tamaqua ambulance associations as Basic Life Support backup.
In a related matter, council received a letter from Brenda Hosler, secretary of the board of directors of the Coaldale Community Ambulance Association, saying the group has applied for licensure.
The borough switched from the Coaldale Community Ambulance Association to St. Luke's in late 2007 after years of tension between the organization and some borough officials.