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Deadline set for injunction request response

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County judge has pledged to answer an injunction request by Jan. 28 in an ambulance service dispute.

Judge Daniel J. Milliron said Tuesday that he wasn’t ready to decide if the case filed by the Hollidaysburg American Legion Ambulance Service met the legal requirements for an injunction.

But the judge acknowledged that his review has generated questions about Allegheny Township’s decision last year to designate AMED as primary provider of emergency medical services in the township.

Because of the township supervisors’ decision, the Blair County’s 911 Center started dispatching AMED to locations in the township, including Hollidaysburg Veterans Home that Hollidaysburg ambulance has traditionally served.

“They have stopped us from being the No. 1 provider for the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home,” attorney Ronald Repak told Milliron in seeking the injuction to restore service.

It’s costing the ambulance service $20,000 a month, Repak said, based on a contract the agency holds with the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs with rates through June 2021.

Allegheny Township solicitor David Pertile told Milliron that the township receives no money from designating a specific ambulance service provider. But under township code, Pertile said supervisors named AMED last year as primary ambulance service provider to ensure that all 7,000 township residents have access to service.

Milliron asked if the township solicited bids before taking that action, which took effect in September. Pertile said that wasn’t required. But the matter was considered and approved by supervisors at a public meeting, the solicitor said.

Pertile provided suggestions on how Hollidaysburg ambulance could continue serving the veterans home, but Repak questioned the options and called on Blair County 911 Director Mark Taylor to clarify the instructions that 911 dispatchers are following.

Based on the township supervisors’ action, Taylor said the 911 Center are dispatching AMED to the veterans home, as of September. Before that, he said the center dispatched Hollidaysburg ambulance to the veterans home, he said.

“It sounds political and it sounds unfair to me,” Milliron said during Tuesday’s court hearing before telling Pertile: “But it sounds like the law is on your side.”

“It wasn’t political,” township Supervisors Chairman David Burchfield Jr. said after the court hearing concluded. In a rough sketch, Burchfield pinpointed the locations of several AMED substations with easy access throughout the township.

He also said that the AMED substation at the Meadows Intersection, behind Ollies, is one-tenth of a mile closer to Hollidaysburg Veterans Home than the Hollidaysburg ambulance’s substation at Legion Park.

Repak, while addressing Milliron, also pointed to neighboring Blair Township where both AMED and Hollidaysburg ambulance both provide service.

Milliron gave the attorneys until Jan. 24 to provide additional court rulings or documents in support of their respective positions on the injunction request. As for further review of the dispute, the judge said he’s prepared to set aside a full day.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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