Opinion 88-69

This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.

AMBULANCE SERVICE -- Contracts (by village with same entity with which town contracts)

GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW, §122-b: A village may contract for services with a private volunteer ambulance service with which the town, in which the village is located, also contracts.

You ask whether a village may contract for services with a private volunteer ambulance service, notwithstanding the fact that the town within which the village is located also contracts for services with the same volunteer ambulance service.

General Municipal Law, §122-b authorizes any county, city, town or village, acting either individually or jointly, to contract for the provision of emergency medical services, general ambulance services or a combination thereof for the purpose of providing prehospital emergency medical treatment or transporting sick or injured persons found within the boundaries of the municipality to a place for treatment of such illness or injury. Therefore, since section 122-b authorizes both towns and villages to contract for ambulance services, it is our opinion that a town and a village within the town may each independently contract for ambulance services under this section.

It should be noted, however, that since services contracted for by a town under section 122-b are provided and financed on a town-wide basis (1980 Opns St Comp No. 80-85, unreported), town residents who also reside in a village within the town are paying for and entitled to receive services under the town's contract (32 Opns St Comp l976, p 1). Therefore, if a village and town both separately contract with the same ambulance service, it is our opinion that the village must receive additional consideration, such as enhanced or additional services, beyond the services already required under the town's contract. Otherwise, the village would be paying under its contract for services already required to be provided to its residents under the town's contract, which may constitute a gift to the private ambulance service in contravention of article VIII, §1 of the State Constitution.

March 22, 1988
Lawrence D. Hasseler, Esq., Village Attorney
Village of West Carthage