Mercy Flight will begin preparations at 6 p.m. to take over ground ambulance service by midnight, Tim Yaeger told WBTA today (mp3).
That's when the Batavia Fire Department shuts down its ambulance service and Mercy EMS officially becomes the lead provider in Batavia and Genesee County.
The new service will be staffed with 15 of the former Batavia EMS members and have six emergency vehicles based in Batavia.
Mercy Flight officials have assured people that they will respond to calls in Batavia, even though the City of Batavia has yet to sign a contract with Mercy Flight.
The main point of the contract is that it guarantees response times. City residents will not be without ambulance service in the absence of a contract.
The city is apparently blocked from signing a contract with Mercy Flight because of provisions in the Taylor Law that prevent governments from replacing union workers with contract workers.
The firefighters union has accused the city of an unfair labor practice, an accusation it is apparently agreed to drop in return for some concessions by the city.
City Manager Jason Molino and Union President Greg Ireland have reportedly reached an agreement that will: extend the fire union contract two years; provide a 5-percent pay raise over the additional years; retain four firefighters cross trained as paramedics; give all 36 members of the department a $1,000 bonus; and promise not to eliminate any of the 36 positions during the term of the contract.
The City Council meets at 6 p.m. today to publicly discuss, and possibly vote on, the proposed settlement.