Lonsdale is informed that ambulance association will disband

Lonsdale Ambulance Association Representative Dave Pfluke reported to the Lonsdale City Council on Thursday, May 30, on information he'd learned at the recent Northfield Area Ambulance Association (NAAA) meeting. He said the organization would be disbanding in 2013 and refunding dues back to the participating cities and townships. Pfluke said Lonsdale's portion of the refund will be about $5,700.

The ambulance service is operated by Northfield Hospital and the association is a collective group of representatives from surrounding cities and townships that help fund any needed equipment related to the service. Just a couple years ago, the association helped Lonsdale with funding for the remodeling of the fire hall to provide a more suitable station for ambulance personnel. 

Pfluke said the reason for disbanding the association was because Northfield Hospital was no longer in support of it. City Administrator Joel Erickson said he received a letter from Northfield Hospital stating that it was not a part of the hospital's mission to be involved in an organization that uses tax dollars, and revenue for the association is generated by each city and township paying annual dues based on population.

Mayor Tim Rud asked Pfluke what changes Lonsdale would see because of the disbandment. Pfluke replied that Lonsdale would not be affected, but because call volumes are higher in the Elko New Market area, there could be a change in the ambulance schedule causing it to be stationed in Lonsdale less often. When asked how long it takes for an ambulance to arrive on scene, Pfluke replied the average is eight minutes, and if it were to be stationed more in Elko New Market, the drive time would be about 10 minutes.

"We can't just stand by," Rud stated. "Clearly we should express our disappointment. Someone with a heart attack isn't going to make it 10 minutes waiting for the ambulance." The council advised Erickson to take a more aggressive approach with Northfield Hospital about the schedule.

Pfluke concluded by saying they are looking into forming a less formal advisory group and that he believes Northfield Hospital is still receptive to the city's wants and needs. He added that he would continue to keep the council informed.

The council also:

•  Approved the feasibility study for the proposed business park. They will consider assessing abutting properties for all, or a portion of, the $4.1 million improvements. A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 27.

•  Transferred $2,676 from the Park Fund to the Police Reserve Fund to afford uniforms and vehicle upgrades to reinstate the police reserve program.

 

The next regular meeting of the council is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 13 at City Hall.