March 5, 2024
Dear Town:

The Johnsburg Emergency Squad wishes to thank the Johnsburg Town Board and the citizens of Johnsburg for their very generous increase to our budget for 2024. We can now offer health insurance benefits to our employees, as well as a retirement package and wage increases based upon experience. As a direct result of your help, we’ve hired 6 new EMTs since the budget was passed. 10 employees now have some retirement benefits, and all of our full-timers now have some form of health benefit. One of those caregivers has health insurance for the first time in many years and can finally get the medications he needs.

I would also like to take this opportunity to make clear that Johnsburg EMS does not station an ambulance at Gore. The Olympic Regional Development Authority pays us $7,000 a year to staff second crews during weekends and holidays. (An increase of $1000 from last year.) These second crews stay in our building until they are called out. They help us ensure our townspeople are covered as well as our visitors. It’s important to understand that Gore provides much more revenue to us than the $7000 donation and the ski passes they offer to our members. Nearly all of the skiers we take from Gore have premium insurance. The 60 or so that we bring to the hospital every year only account for about 12% of our total calls, but they bring in more than a third of our billing revenue. That’s more than $100,000 that our taxpayers don’t have to come up with.

I would also like to thank all those who gave to our annual fund drive at the end of last year. We raised more than $54,000 for our Major Equipment Fund, a record amount. Your taxes went up and still you donated more than ever. Our beautiful town is a long ride from the closest hospital, and that’s all the more reason for you to have the best emergency care when you need it, with experienced caregiving professionals, on call 24/7, using the best possible equipment.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. My contact info can be found on our website,

Thank you,

Joe Connelly
Director, Johnsburg EMS

To Our Wonderful Supporters


Last year we asked you to help us purchase a Power Lifter for our new ambulance, a $25,000 gadget that raises the stretcher into the ambulance at the touch of a button. Once again, you came through for us, the way you have every year. You gave us more than we asked for, allowing us to purchase a power stretcher to go with the power lifter. Since January, we’ve lifted up nearly 500 people without one of us getting hurt.

This year we need your help with something different. We want to set up a major equipment fund to maintain the expensive equipment your generosity has helped us purchase. The Lifepak 15 EKG monitors we carry are the best in the business. They’re marvels of modern technology, reading your vital signs and conditions, and then transmitting that information to an emergency room physician. There’s no question these machines save lives, but the cost of purchasing and maintaining them is killing us, and it keeps going up.

A new Lifepak costs $55,000, and the upkeep and care over its lifespan can reach half that much. We’ve set aside an account dedicated to the purchase and care of these essential and costly instruments. Please give to our Major Equipment Fund. We hope you never need us, but if you do, you’ll be glad we have the best cared for equipment.

Thank You.

Joe Connelly, Director.

Johnsburg Emergency Squad,

Proudly serving Johnsburg and Minerva.

And please don’t forget you can also give to our Endowment with the Adirondack Foundation.

Johnsburg Emergency Squad Budget Request for 2024

In the summer of 2014, the Johnsburg Emergency Squad came to the Town Board asking that you approve an Ambulance Tax District. We argued that the $65,000 the Town had been giving us yearly wasn’t nearly enough to cover the needs of a squad that had gone from an all-volunteer unit to a professional group of providers working for a half a million-dollar non-profit corporation. We asked for approximately $150,000 more in tax revenue which would:

  • Pay our medics and EMTs a competitive salary,

  • Provide them a modest health benefit stipend of $2000 a year,

  • Pay the Director and Operations Manager a modest salary to manage the business,

  • Cover the increasing operating expenses, especially ambulances and equipment.

That summer the Town voted unanimously to approve the District, and in November of that year the citizens voted overwhelmingly in support of its creation.

Since then, the squad’s management has done everything possible to control expenses without reducing coverage.

  • Numerous grants, including $218,000 dollars from FEMA for new equipment.

  • Utilizing Sprinter Van Ambulances which are cheaper to purchase and run and more reliable than ‘box’ style rigs.

  • Annual fund drive generates more than $40,000 a year for new equipment.

  • 2020 Minerva contract, providing additional $50,000 in billing revenue, and $50,000 to Johnsburg EMS from Minerva taxpayers.

  • Maximized billing revenue from Johnsburg calls.

  • Yearly request for budget increases at 2% or less.

  • ARPA grant award this Spring for $73,000

A lot has changed in the nine years since you approved our tax district.

  • In 2014, no health insurance benefits for squads in the county, now all neighboring squads are offering benefits.

  • In 2014, no pension benefits were available in the county, now almost all are offering a variety of types.

  • In 2014, most squads were still a mix of paid and volunteer/on call, now all are fully paid.

This year North Warren, Warrensburg and Lake George all became tax districts.

  • North Warren EMS total tax revenue increased to $500,000.

  • Warrensburg EMS total tax revenue increased to $450,000.

  • Lake George EMS total tax revenue increased to $700,000.

  • Johnsburg EMS current tax revenue for 2023: $251,000, ($300,000 total when including Minerva’s $49,000 in tax levy.)

In the last ten months we’ve lost two full-time employees and two part-time. Two are now receiving benefits at neighboring agencies. We’ve been unable to find full-time replacements for those positions, and every week we scrape by, often myself or Kevin filling in.

This year, in order to keep the rest of the people we have, and to have any hope of recruiting for our current openings, we began offering health insurance to our employees and paying to have two people stay in the building at night, instead of one. (Until this year we used local drivers at night, who were paid an on-call rate to respond from home, and drive for the paramedic. Due to the current standards of care, and the lack of local drivers, we now pay both an EMT and a paramedic to be inside the building at all times. Every other squad in the area now pays two providers 24/7. We were the last to do so.) The increased costs for these programs will be covered through the end of this year by an ARPA grant we received in April for $73,000.

We are asking the Town for an additional $180,000 in tax revenues, beginning in 2024:

  • $60,000 to transition from night call drivers to hourly paid EMTs.

  • $70,000 to provide health insurance benefits. (The same benefit plan as offered by the Town of Johnsburg as well as North Warren EMS.) This covers our current HRA plan for full-time employees as well as the single health plan we are currently offering one employee. It also provides estimated insurance costs for one family and two singles.

  • $30,000 for hourly raises that reward experience. Our EMTs are making $18 an hour. A tiered pay plan based on experience would give one dollar an hour more for 1-3 years of experience, and another dollar for 3-5 years. It’s an incentive to attract more experienced providers, and to help keep the ones we have.

  • $20,000 to open a Simple IRA or 401K account for our employees, similar to both Indian Lake and Warrensburg.

In 2014 Kelly Nessle stood in front of the TOJ Board holding up a six pack of beer and a carton of cigarettes, saying the annual cost to the average homeowner for guaranteed 24/7 rapid EMS response would be the equivalent of buying those two items. 9 years later the same comparison can still be made. Raising our tax revenue by $180,000 would cost the owner of an average home in Johnsburg about $50 a year.

We hoped for years that the county would put together a county wide EMS service funded equitably, with the larger towns paying their share, (the larger towns receive far more in billing revenue than we do.) But the towns south of us couldn’t wait any longer, and in order for them to provide health insurance to their EMTs and Paramedics, they one by one passed tax districts to raise the money needed.

Our Paramedics and EMTs are highly trained professionals, doing a challenging and stressful job, serving our residents and visitors in their most urgent and desperate hours. These essential healthcare workers require health insurance to provide for their families, and money to put towards their retirement. We ask that you invest in our squad now and ensure we can continue to provide this essential service to our community for many years to come.