Candidates in favor of sharing
Although there have been discussions over the past few years about consolidating local ambulance and fire crews, the Eagle County Health Service District isn’t dealing currently with any consolidation proposals, said Donna Barnes, president of the Eagle County Ambulance District board.
“Different people had different opinions, but the majority of the board has decided there’s not a huge benefit to pursuing a merger with the fire district,” Barnes said. “Our talks with them have become more of a collaboration issue.”
Don Cohen, one of the candidates for the board this year, said he isn’t pro consolidation, but believes the emergency services could work more closely with other emergency service agencies.
“Consolidation might not be the answer, but there are other ways of sharing,” Cohen said. “The ambulance district hasn’t proven that they are serious about looking at shared opportunities.”
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Another candidate, Dr. Laurence Brooks, also said he sees an opportunity for the ambulance service to cooperate with other emergency services.
“There’s an opportunity for cooperation,” Brooks said. “Total inclusion of two systems under one system doesn’t work. I’m for cooperation when it’s effective for both entities.”
To Thomas Gorman, 53, a candidate of Vail, there is a legitimate call for cooperation in community services.
“Whatever resources and expertise can be shared by the various emergency services, you can count on me to help discover and implement them,” said Gorman, a property manager for the Vail Valley medical Center.
As far as issues before the district, Pam Brandmeyer, also a candidate, said she is interested in pursuing a dialogue about cooperative efforts among the various districts.
“I’m aware the mere mention of merging or consolidating can be highly charged,” said Brandmeyer, the Town of Vail assistant manager. “But I also believe that thoughtful, directed conversation can lead to beneficial outcomes for all of us valleywide.”
Barnes said the district’s board might consider merging with the Western Eagle County Ambulance District, the emergency medical service in western Eagle County.
“We’ve been discussing that, but we haven’t made any decisions yet,” Barnes said. “It makes sense to merge things that are the same.”