The Upper Saucon Ambulance Corps is now at the head of the class of emergency medical services providers for township residents.
Township supervisors voted unanimously Monday night to make the squad the official advanced life support provider. Supervisors chairman Stephan Wagner called the upgrade "a major accomplishment" for the ambulance corps, which has been in existence for more than three decades,
Until two weeks ago, the ambulance corps shared duties with several other units in Upper Saucon and neighboring communities.
Dr. William Zajdel, the ambulance corps' medical director, said acquiring the extra training and equipment needed over the last year was "a natural evolution." He compared the ambulance squad to a car that has been upgraded with new amenities.
The supervisors also unanimously approved a plan establishing which ambulance services will back up the Upper Saucon squad, and what geographic regions of the township they will serve.
The backup units include squads from Coopersburg, Emmaus, Allentown, Fountain Hill, Hellertown and Cetronia.
Zajdel described the new backup plan as "a shifting over of one spot, based on the upgrading of [Upper Saucon's] services."
In other business, the supervisors moved closer to ending their class action lawsuit challenging the creation of Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which is being used to fund a downtown hockey arena.
The township joined the borough of Catasauqua two months ago to stop earned income taxes from being used for the arena project.
An amendment to the new state budget signed at the beginning of this month gives the earned income tax money back to the municipalities.
Monday night, the Upper Saucon supervisors gave permission for the township attorney to prepare a joint resolution with Catasauqua to formally end their lawsuit.
The supervisors approved the hiring of Chris Cope as director of water and sewer resources at a salary of $69,471.
Cope replaces Dan Stahlnecker, who is retiring at the end of September. Stahlnecker has worked for the township for more than 30 years, and has been in charge of water and sewer resources for more than 20 years, said township manager Thomas Beil.
Cope is currently industrial waste manager for Allentown's water bureau, and is vice chairman of the Lower Macungie Environmental Advisory Committee.