The city council on Tuesday evening approved an agreement with Woodland Park whereby the Paterson Fire Department will provide emergency medical services to the neighboring town’s residents during the daytime hours.
The resolution approving the agreement narrowly passed in the council. Two council members expressed their distaste at entering into an agreement with the town formerly known as West Paterson by casting their votes against the resolution.
“I don’t believe they’re a friendly town and I don’t believe we should work with them,” said Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward councilman, who voted against the agreement. Tavarez said the neighboring town has a record of setting up snares on its roads bordering the city to trap and ticket Patersonians.
Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, who voted against the resolution, expressed similar sentiments. “I always vote against Woodland Park because it still does urban profiling of our folks at traffic stops at Squirrelwood Road and Glover Avenue,” said Morris.
Morris said the borough sets up these checkpoints in such a way that it’s able to trap residents coming into the city and others going onto Route 80. Morris also said he wasn’t a fan of the borough opting to change its name. “I don’t like the fact that they changed their name,” stated Morris.
Four council members voted in favor of the agreement allowing it to pass through the council with a simple majority. The agreement will result in the city’s fire department dispatching ambulances to the borough between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to the agreement.
The agreement, which kicks in on July 1st, 2014, also includes a provision that will let special event organizers to have a standby ambulance at sports or recreational events at the cost of $150 per emergency medical technician (EMT). Two EMTs with an ambulance for a special event will cost the borough $300, according to the resolution.
Michael Posterino, fire chief, said by providing emergency medical services to the neighboring town of 12,000 he does not see the extra volume of calls adversely impacting services for city residents. Posterino said the volume of calls at the borough is too low to have an impact.
After mentioning the unfriendliness with which the neighboring town targets city residents, Tavarez said, “They’re not good friends to the City of Paterson.”