In a recent meeting of the Old Tappan Borough Council, discussions focused on the challenges surrounding daytime emergency medical services (EMS) and potential changes to parking regulations near the high school. Proposals included hiring full-time EMS personnel and implementing parking restrictions, sparking community debates on both topics.
The First State Corps, the borough’s primary EMS provider, presented an overview of the challenges they face in meeting daytime EMS needs. They pointed to a shortage of manpower, especially during the 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. window, attributing this to several factors. These included the rise of two-income families, difficulty in recruiting post-college members, a decline in crew chiefs, and fear of disease, notably heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency emphasized the need for a proactive solution and proposed a more sustainable operating model.
In response, the council proposed hiring two full-time EMTs to supplement the manpower of the Old Tappan First Aid Corps. The goal was to provide exceptional EMS service to residents, focusing on response time, an experienced crew, and compassionate care. They believed that having dedicated full-time EMTs would ensure stability, longevity, and a higher quality of service compared to reliance on per diem EMTs.
The proposal sparked discussion on offering paid EMT positions, attracting more EMTs, and providing a competitive edge. The council estimated the cost for two paid EMTs, including benefits, to be $123,456. They recognized the need for further discussions with neighboring Rivervale and the importance of considering the financial implications before moving forward with the proposal.
While the EMS shortage took center stage, the meeting also saw residents express various concerns over proposed changes to parking regulations around the high school football field. Concerns ranged from safety issues related to the back gate and parking area to the potential impact on residents during leaf season. There was also a debate about long-term parking restrictions and the inconvenience it would cause for guests visiting their homes.
The council proposed ideas such as implementing no parking on one side of the street and allowing parking on the other side, but only if the school board didn’t oppose it. Another idea was to issue parking passes to residents, which they could give to their family members. However, this suggestion was met with concerns about potential reselling of the passes.
The council concluded with a motion to table an initiative to expand parking restrictions to weekends, allowing for further discussion. The proposal will be revisited at the next council meeting unless it is further tabled.