Utica, NY (WIBX) - The City of Utica is clear to operate its own ambulance service. The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court handed down its ruling today on the hotly contested issue.

Mayor Rob Palmieri is applauding the favorable ruling and is vowing to work with all parties to move beyond the dispute, and provide the necessary service to Utica residents. "Now that the court has done its job, we'll continue to do ours. My most important duty is protecting the people. The Court's ruling assures that we will be able to fulfill that objective," he said in a released statement announcing the news.

The dispute with Kunkel Ambulance over service, dates back to 2005, when the city started its ambulance service. Prior to that the fire department, headed by Chief Russell Brooks, provided medical care at the scene but then handed off the patient to Kunkel for transport.