Onondaga County Wants Money From Cortland County to Fund Police Helicopter
The Onondaga County legislature is set to consider a resolution that asks neighboring counties like Cortland to help cover the costs of the Onondaga County sheriff’s Air-One rescue helicopter.
Onondaga County lawmakers are expected to vote Aug. 7 on a resolution requesting that any county that benefits from Air-1’s services pay Onondaga County an amount “commensurate with the costs of providing such services.” Records show it costs anywhere from $600,000 to $700,000 a year to operate the helicopter.
The Sheriff’s Office has obtained a commercial flying license, allowing it to charge insurance companies for transporting seriously injured accident victims to hospitals.
However the helicopter is called for other situations other than medical airlifts. In the past the chopper has been called here to Cortland county help find missing persons, or assist in the search for a wanted criminal suspect.
The Sheriff’s Office estimates it costs $1,240 an hour to operate the helicopter, on average, it is used for 22 hours a year responding to police calls in other counties, a cost of approximately $27,400.
Among the counties around Onondaga Cortland County uses the service the 4th most. Cortland County calls the chopper about 3 times a year, at a cost of just over $3 thousand dollars; Cortland County currently pays nothing for the service.
Oswego County recently agreed to pay Onondaga County $10,000 a year, starting this year, for Air-1’s services. Cayuga County has voluntarily paid Onondaga County $5,000 a year for the use of the helicopter.
During last years budget development process County Fire Coordinator Bob Duell asked the legislature for money to support the helicopter, lawmakers rejected the request