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United Way of Lancaster County


MESA marks its launch with ribbon-cutting

Officials snip a ribbon to officially launch MESA, the Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County, at its Elizabethtown station on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Source: Provided)

Pennsylvania’s first fee-based emergency services authority celebrated its launch with a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday.

The Municipal Emergency Services Authority of Lancaster County, or MESA, serves four townships and two boroughs in the footprint previously served by Northwest EMS. It began making ambulance runs on Feb. 4.

The authority is intended to provide a firmer financial footing for emergency medical services. Northwest EMS officials had said reimbursements and fundraising were not sufficient to cover its expenses and that the organization was facing a rapidly widening deficit.

Click to enlarge. (Source: MESA)

As a multi-municipal authority, MESA is empowered to charge property owners an annual fee. The first round of bills went out earlier this month.

Fees were set based on usage patterns: Households are charged $85, while businesses are charged $10 per full-time employee.

Planning for MESA dates to 2018, and involved multiple municipal meetings, votes and public hearings en route to its official formation a year ago, in February 2023. Its manager is Scott Kingsboro, Northwest EMS executive director; its board is chaired by Debra Dupler, a Mount Joy Township supervisor.

To help with startup costs, Lancaster County provided MESA $375,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds. EMS services statewide and nationwide are struggling to make ends meet, the county commissioners said at the time, expressing optimism that MESA could show a way forward and serve as a model for its peers.