Walworth to pull out of shared services agreement

      Due to a failed referendum on April 4, the Village of Walworth will be pulling out of a shared services agreement with the Village and Town of Darien and the Village and Town of Sharon on Feb. 15, 2024.

      The Town of Walworth is expected to follow suit.

      That situation was discussed at the Village of Darien Board of Trustees meeting on Monday night. Interim Fire/EMS Chief Bruce VanderVeen brought it up as he discussed a proposed request to the state to designate the department as a flex service department for EMS service.

      The current shared service agreement is set to expire in February of 2024. Administrator Lindsey Peterson said the failed referendum led to the Village of Walworth informing the other members that they will not renew their participation in the agreement.

      VanderVeen asked for the board’s blessing to apply to the state to change its status to Paramedic Flex Service Level status. He said basic ambulance service means some EMS staff cannot ride on calls because they are not certified. Advanced ambulance service provides certified EMS staff on rides. Usually an ambulance must be one or the other. Flex status would allow the department more flexibility.

      After the board approved making that request to the state, VanderVeen asked the board for approval to spend $10,427 for equipment related to the new status.

      VanderVeen also asked the board to consider increasing its rates for ambulance calls from $805 for residents and $905 for non-residents to $1,267 for anyone needing a call. VanderVeen said that would be consistent with what Sharon charges and make things easier administratively. He also said the department will need more revenue in the future.

      VanderVeen said that when the shared services agreement was created, it was thought that a consistent billing schedule would be created and it was not. Trustee Ken Truckey made the motion to raise the rate and it passed 5-1 with President Jane Stiles opposed. Stiles had indicated a preference to continue to give residents a break in the rate over non-residents.

      VanderVeen also asked the board if it wished to reinstate fire response fees that were created in 2017 but never billed for. He said the village is paying for the service and not utilizing it. The issue was referred to committee for further study.

      The board did approve the purchase of a new Ford emergency response vehicle for $48,146. The vehicle will be delivered in three to six months.

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