As the East Allen Township EMS struggles financially to continue operations, the nonprofit organization is seeking ways to sustain itself by partnering with other regional EMS organizations. During the June 14 East Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting, Eric Snyder, President of the EMS Board of Directors, outlined a plan for partnering with Nazareth Regional EMS. However, a lack of financial records from Nazareth left supervisors unable to vote on a decision.
“The Board of Supervisors has a fiduciary responsibility to the township,” said Solicitor Joe Piperato.
All supervisors voiced concerns over a lack of financial records provided by Nazareth. Supervisor Georgiann Hunsicker questioned whether Nazareth, which recently re-started its own operations, could sustain the addition of East Allen Township.
“You want to know if you’re going to merge with someone who is going to go broke in a year,” she said to Snyder.
Snyder said his position does not allow him to request financial records, but Nazareth gave him their word they were “solvent.”
However, one’s word was not enough to persuade supervisors of a proposed partnership. The future of the EMS, said Supervisor Roger Unangst, is the most important decision the board will make in years. To make it confidently, he said, they need all the facts.
Snyder said the EMS Board of Directors chose to go with Nazareth Regional over Northampton Regional EMS or Bethlehem Township EMS, both in the running, due to their business plan.
Snyder said Nazareth would allow East Allen EMS to maintain its name and assets, maintain a presence in the township, and provide 24/7 service. If an East Allen Township emergency vehicle is busy with a call, Nazareth would position one of their vehicles in the township as coverage. Snyder also said Nazareth offered East Allen voting positions on their EMS Board of Directors. They also offered to bring on all paid and volunteer staff and provide training.
Meanwhile, funds raised during the EMS subscription drive would remain in East Allen Township. Nazareth would serve as the “parent company” of the nonprofit, carrying much of the financial burden, Snyder added. However, Nazareth can handle these costs because of the added revenue their transport services bring into the organization.
“They are honoring the history, honoring the name,” Snyder told supervisors. “And they want to see our crews stay where they are, grow, and become better providers.”
Snyder said Nazareth’s proposal indicated how they want to keep East Allen’s EMS “alive,” while he said that Northampton’s proposal indicated East Allen EMS would dissolve into the larger EMS organization.
However, whether East Allen Township EMS would operate under a different name did not matter to supervisors on the board, including Unangst. What mattered most, he said, was ensuring an ambulance would be there when residents needed it.
“The survival of the East Allen Township Ambulance Corps to me is not important,” Unangst said. “What is important is when somebody has a heart attack, there’s an ambulance. I don’t care what is written on the side of that ambulance.”
Supervisor Chris Cruz asked specifically why the EMS board chose Nazareth over Northampton, citing Northampton’s 15-plus year history. Northampton also presented supervisors with their financial records to show they were solvent.
Piperato also voiced concerns over the list of services Snyder said Nazareth would provide. While he didn’t doubt Nazareth promised those things, he said not having the proposal signed and in writing could cause legal problems.
Throughout 2023, the township has been funding expenditures for the East Allen EMS. However, the funding was to only last for seven months. During this time, Snyder and the board were to look for alternatives. With payroll two weeks away, Snyder said his team is “scrapping for payroll.”
Supervisors asked Snyder to return to the board’s next meeting on June 22 with an “apples to apples” comparison between Northampton and Nazareth. Meanwhile, Borough Manager Brent Green said he would ask Nazareth EMS for their financial records.
“I have to do what is best for the organization,” Snyder told supervisors.
Supervisors thanked him for the board’s work. Now, they said it is their turn to do their job and make the important decision as to the future of the township’s EMS operations.