Northeastern Berks EMS presents start-up plan; roller skating rink proposed for western portion of Route 222 at Grim and Church Road, Maxatawny Township

Joe Brown - 21st Century Media
Maxatawny Township Solicitor Sean Summers advises the board to put off making any binding decision regarding the Northeastern Berks Emergency Medical Service's proposition to become the area's primary provider of EMS services until a future meeting.
Joe Brown - 21st Century Media Maxatawny Township Solicitor Sean Summers advises the board to put off making any binding decision regarding the Northeastern Berks Emergency Medical Service's proposition to become the area's primary provider of EMS services until a future meeting.

The Maxatawny Township Board of Supervisors received a lot to think about following an in-depth presentation by Northeastern Berks Emergency Medical Service President Douglas Demchyk at their Jan. 14 meeting.

Demchyk’s proposition for NBEMS is to make it the primary provider of EMS services in the surrounding townships, including but not limited to Maxatawny, Greenwich and the Borough of Kutztown. Currently, the nonprofit EMS company is in its start-up phase.

“Right now we’re at a point [where] before we go any further and invest a lot of money to start this up – because the medical field is very expensive – we want to make sure we have input and buy-in by our communities not only at the public level, but also at the local government level,” Demchyk said in an interview with The Patriot.

Demchyk previously presented NBEMS’s plan to the Borough of Kutztown’s Community Development and Public Safety subcommittee. It is scheduled to appear before the Borough Council in the near future.

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The purpose of NBEMS, according to its president, is to improve the medical services in the Northeastern Berks area.

“It’s not about the money,” Demchyk said. “It’s about providing quality service, enjoying the job that you’re doing, and being there for the community when they need you.”

The proposed services that NBEMS would provide include emergency response at both the advanced and basic life support levels, stand-by services at special events (such as sporting contests), and educational services for both advanced and basic life support levels.

Demchyk especially emphasized the educational aspect of NBEMS, which he stated would be a new concept in the area.

“If we can get that education out there, we can ensure that our community is going to be there to step in until that ambulance arrives,” Demchyk said.

The board’s solicitor, Sean Summers, advised the board to think more deeply about Demchyk’s presentation before making any binding decisions. He informed Demchyk that, “Maxatawny is not making any decisions right now.”

The board agreed to address NBEMS’s proposition to be identified as the primary provider of EMS services in the township at their February meeting.

According to Maxatawny Township Manager Justin Yaich, the board currently has chosen not to identify a primary provider for these services.

In other news, Marty Rapoport raised a concern about the money discrepancy for his proposed roller skating rink on the western portion of the intersection of Route 222, Grim and Church Road.

Bruce Rader of Berks Surveying & Engineering Inc. accompanied Rapoport before the board. Rapoport’s major concern revolved around the difference in costs for the rink’s septic system.

“We’re OK on the Developer’s Agreement, but there’s a separate agreement for the septic system because this was a specially designed system for this property. We’re off by about $100,000,” Rapoport said.

Rapoport’s estimate for the costs regarding the septic system ranged between $96,000 and $101,000 depending on inflation. Rapoport’s estimate was approved by the project’s general contractor, Lehigh Valley Building Systems, in addition to Semmel Excavating, which will be heavily involved in the project if it is approved.

The Township’s former Chief Engineering Operator, Chris Falencki, provided Rapoport with a much different estimate, however. Falencki is permitted to finish the contract because it was unfinished when Keystone Consulting Engineers became the township’s new engineering service.

According to Rapoport, Falencki’s estimate totals $197,000, an approximately $100,000 difference from Rapoport’s estimate. According to the rink’s owner, he has yet to receive an explanation of why the costs vary.

Rapoport has been working on this rink project in some capacity since July of 2007. Once a dollar figure is agreed upon, both Rapoport and the board will have to sign their approval for the rink project to finally get underway. The board requested that the agreements be finalized for their February meeting if possible.

In road-related news, PennDOT stated that Bowers Road Bridge has been cleared to hold up to 30 tons of weight. The board approved a motion to remove the 5-ton sign that is currently associated with the bridge and replace it with an updated 30-ton sign.

Lastly, the township received recycling bins for the newly mandated curbside recycling. According to Yaich, residents’ haulers are required to pick up curbside recycling effective immediately.

Every resident is entitled to one recycling bin per property, which can be picked up anytime at the Township Building. A stack of bins will also be made available at the board’s February meeting on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Township Building.