Feb 24, 2012 Neil Benjamin Jr. Uncategorized
Elbridge has made it known: the town needs Air 1.
The town board unanimously passed a resolution in support of the helicopter, which is no longer being funded by the county and is running on grants and donations. Supervisor Ken Bush said it’s imperative to keep Air 1 running, as more areas such as Elbridge depend on what it brings.
“If you live in the city, you’re not far from a hospital,” he said. “It’s not that way out here. There’s not a hospital five minutes away, and we need the support Air 1 brings.”
Last year, county legislators voted to stop funding the sheriff’s office’s aviation unit. Sheriff Kevin Walsh, though, started the Air 1 Foundation in hopes of raising $595,000 to keep it in the air. It is currently still going, but unless Walsh can continue to raise funds, Air 1 won’t be around much longer.
The legislators used Mercy Flight, which is based in Canandaigua and Marcellus, because it doesn’t cost local taxpayers anything and covers the same area.
Bush was adamant about about the resolution. The town sent a letter to the county outlining why Air 1 should be funded, and Walsh wrote a letter in response thanking the town, saying : “We can only hope for a favorable outcome when the Onondaga County Legislature is aware of
your formal intention. Knowing that local towns and villages are advocating for the need of the services Air l provides speaks volumes.”
Elbridge isn’t the only local community to let the county know it wants Air 1 to stay, as Van Buren also jumped in the mix.
Town Supervisor Claude Sykes said the town also passed a resolution of support.
“We have a river out here that a lot of people go on, and we have a lot of trails and things like that,” he said in a phone interview. “We’re a rural area. Air 1 delivers a big public service out here. It enhances the rescue process.”
Bush called the outlying areas of the county different than the cities, saying Syracuse has a “full-time” police department and a lot more public safety options. While he spoke about what Air 1 does for public safety, he also brought up another point.
“Look at it from a holistic point of view, it’s not just for medical.” Bush said. “Think about search rescue, and how much it can help if the police are looking for a fugitive? I know it has helped in the past.”
In other board news
The town is considering drafting some sort of noise ordinance, but is stuck in the middle of a dispute.
Bush said some residents have complained about the noise made from off-road vehicles such as dirt bikes, ATVs, etc. The town currently does not have a noise ordinance, and Bush says Elbridge has always been friendly with outdoor activities. He acknowledged, though, that the town board will look into something that will make both sides happy with little-to-no compromise.
“We’re definitely struggling with this,” he said. “We want to continue to allow and encourage recreational vehicles, but we want to also help those with noise issues.”
Bush said the town has just begun looking into a solution, and not to expect an ordinance right away.
Neil Benjamin Jr. can be reached at email@example.com