If St. Lukes needs Utica Fire protection, why did it remain in New Hartford?
New Hartford police patrol the St. Luke's campus of Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare. The hospital is projected to pay the town $23,000 this year for the service.
The Utica Fire Department responds to alarms, fires and hazmat calls at the St. Luke's campus -- 37 times in 2009, according to city records. The city was paid nothing. . . .
A “gentleman's agreement” between the city and Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare calls for first-responder fire service to be provided free to the hospital's New Hartford campus. Now, it's coming under scrutiny recently as the city seeks additional sources of revenue.
The Faxton-St Lukes complex contains one of the biggest buildings in the area. It makes sense for Utica to continue handling fire protection since Utica already has the equipment to serve several other comparable complexes. Why should New York Mills residents, or the residents of one of our other nearby villages, have to pay to maintain the hook and ladder and other equipment necessary to service such a large facility? And why should Town of New Hartford taxpayers have to pay one of the nearby villages when service is needed?
And Why would New Hartford want to have this facility within its borders?
It brings in no tax revenue. The money paid to the Town Police is buying a private security service that Town taxpayers actually subsidize. That practice needs to end.
If anyone gives birth there, or dies there, people have to trek to Butler Hall for the birth and death certificates. The revenues for the certificates go to the Town of New Hartford, but the volume is likely much larger that what Town residents would generate and probably requires Town taxpayers to maintain an additional deputy clerk to issue paperwork for non residents. Why should Town taxpayers pay for an additional position to issue the paperwork for the non-residents?
There are probably more Uticans in that hospital and the St. Luke's home than people from any other local municipality. Many own property in Utica. They should be counted as Uticans in the census, so that proper state and federal funding gets routed to Utica take care of their costs to the City. They impose no costs on New Hartford.
The Masonic Home saw the value of annexing itself to Utica. Faxton-St. Lukes Healthcare should consider doing likewise.
The Town could then eliminate a deputy clerk and the cost of sending police patrols into the area. The Hospital could avoid having to pay a separate charge for fire protection. Utica would receive increased revenue from the birth and death certificates, and increased state and federal revenue related to an increased population count -- which could be used to offset the cost of fire protection. And people needing vital records could conveniently get them from centrally located Utica City Hall, rather than Butler Hall.
Annexation sounds like a win win win win.