After the resolution of a series of paperwork problems – including an address error and late audit reports – the Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps will receive the first round of checks from its 2011-2012 budget from the Undergraduate Student Government.
SBVAC had not received any checks because it didn’t have a proper address on the contract for its budget and had not filed its audits from last semester, according to USG Treasurer Thomas Kirnbauer. The organization is required to fill out audit reports and submit them to USG because it is a Direct Pay Organization, as opposed to other clubs on campus, Kirnbauer said.
The address error on the contracts, however, has gone unfixed for years, according to Daniel H. Wolbrom, chief of operations for SBVAC.
“[In] the last six years, USG paid us regardless of a typo on the contract, but chose this year to hold back our payments for an additional two months because of this,” he said. “The address on our contract was for a building that no longer exists on campus. It was where we used to be located prior to 2005, but was never fixed on the contract by the USG.”
The issue was delayed further because the USG Senate tabled the voting for the budget several times, Kirnbauer said.
SBVAC, a New York State certified ambulance corporation, serves the SBU campus and surrounding area and provides mutual aid to neighboring fire and emergency medical services departments with about 70 to 90 volunteers and three operational ambulances, according to its website.
SBVAC normally receives three checks a year from USG to pay for basic life support and advanced life support supplies, the maintenance and repair of the ambulances, insurance for the vehicles and volunteers, radios and pagers for communication and other necessary expenditures, according to SBVAC President Joseph Park. However, SBVAC is only now receiving the money – halfway through spring semester.
“Personally, I have not had problems receiving money,” Park said. “As president the previous year as well, we received our funds with no problems.”
The USG Budget Committee and senate recently approved SBVAC’s budget for the 2011-2012 Academic Year due to the urgency of the
situation. “We have to pay our bills, and when our ambulances and equipment need repairs, we have to fix them right away. Without the funds we cannot provide the best quality care to our patients,” Park said.
SBVAC’s budget this year was $141,250, down from $165,000 in the previous year.
“These cuts were pretty significant considering the past year to two years, we have seen dramatic rises in our operating costs due to increased insurance, increased fuel prices and more ambulance repairs due to their increasing age and wear and tear,” Wolbrom said.
SBVAC, like many of the other clubs and organizations on campus, is asking for an increased budget for the 2012-2013 academic year. The organization asked USG for a 41 percent increase in funding. But more money going to SBVAC would be less money going to other clubs and organizations, Kirnbauer said.
“It’s a tough position for USG,” he said. “Every student on USG, including me, thinks what SBVAC does is great.”
Wolbrom said that with the rising student population, SBVAC needs a bigger budget to serve that population. “[The] increase in amount of students on campus … leads to us using more medical equipment and fuel to go on those 911 calls that occur more frequently,” Wolbrom said.
If SBVAC were to be dissolved, the Stony Brook and Setauket Fire Departments would not be able to pick up the approximate 1,200 911 EMS calls that SBVAC responds to each year, Wolbrom said.
An ambulance fee, on top of other fees that students pay, has been suggested as an option for SBVAC to have a steady income in the future, according to Kirnbauer. However, this isn’t likely to pass anytime soon because it would have to go through state legislation, Kirnbauer said.
SBVAC also receives $25,000 from the state, according to Wolbrom. There have been negotiations for SBVAC to receive more state aid, but there will not be an increase to that budget at this time, he said.
“So my main concern now is regarding next year’s budget,” Wolbrom said. “I am afraid USG won’t realize they [are] our only real option and cut our budget even more.”
The USG Senate will be voting on the final budget for the 2012-2013 academic year this week.