Cass Ambulance questions Jefferson

Published 11:33 am Friday, December 10, 2004

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS - The Cass Area Ambulance Service voted Monday to hire SMACAS from Niles to take over its coverage, but Jefferson Township has hired the Edwardsburg Ambulance Service to cover the portion which Cass had previous covered.
After hearing two proposals, the Cass Ambulance Service accepted the Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service (SMCAS) bid which was lower than that of LifeCare Ambulance Service of Battle Creek, and also promised to work one vehicle out of the Village of Cassopolis.
Payment though would need to come from the four townships and two villages in the coverage area. Cassopolis Village Manager Art Sciorra has repeatedly insisted a new Ambulance Authority would need to be established.
Other township boards which need to approve the proposal to accept SMCAS are Penn, Calvin and LaGrange, besides the village councils of Cassopolis and Vandalia.
Should Edwardsburg begin to cover Jefferson, the area would include Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High School, which raises some concern for school administration and parents, and also the Cass County Medical Care Facility.
The Edwardsburg Ambulance Service has not yet achieved its Advanced Life Support status, as does SMCAS, say those who object to this decision, nor could it arrive in the same amount of time as the Cass service, unless the location where the service is based changed.
With Jefferson pulling out and other townships still undecided, the bid offered by SMCAS would need to be adjusted. Previously the Village of Cassopolis has maintained LaGrange Township has not paid its fair share in the past, causing the residents of Cassopolis to pay more than they should for fire and ambulance.