Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

The Morris County Freeholders have gone on record as being opposed to a proposal by Gov. Jon Corzine to transfer $4 million from a dedicated EMT Training Fund to other areas of the state budget.

The training fund was established by the state in 1992 to reimburse certified agencies that train and test volunteer ambulance, first aid and rescue squad personnel who are seeking emergency medical technician certification or recertification.

Transferring $4 million from the dedicated fund and leaving it with only $400,000 will result in volunteer first responders having to pay for training themselves and will have an adverse impact on public health and volunteer emergency services, according to the freeholders.

According to the freeholders, re-allocating the money will shift the cost of volunteer EMT training to the volunteers, the county, municipalities and residents when they can least afford it. The freeholders said it is unfair to ask those who generously volunteer their time to attend training courses and answer emergency calls to now have to pay for their own training when they already provide so much to their community.

The EMT Training Fund is supported by a 50-cent surcharge on each fine collected by the state for motor vehicle violations, and not by tax dollars.