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Boyceville switches gears to apply for ambulance grant

by LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE — As the old saying goes — there’s good news and there’s bad news.

The bad news is that the Boyceville Ambulance District did not receive the $200,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation for remodeling the old Chevy building as an ambulance station, said Matt Feeney, ambulance director, at the Boyceville Ambulance District’s August 14 meeting.

The good news, however, is that the ambulance district has received a waiver from the Bremer Foundation and can now apply for a grant to buy a new ambulance, he said.

 The reason why the ambulance district did not receive the $200,000 grant for remodeling is because the ambulance district had shown support for the project by already borrowing money and did not really need the money, Feeney said.

The Boyceville Village Board took the lead on borrowing $248,000 from the state trust fund at the February meeting.

Vendors will soon be bringing new ambulances to Boyceville so the EMTs can inspect them with the idea of buying a new one if grant money can be obtained, Feeney told the ambulance board.

As for construction on the old Chevy building on Race Street, the bidding process is expected to start within a week or two, he said.

On August 30, representatives for Architectural Design Group will be meeting with a state inspector to review the plans, Feeney said.

If the plans are approved, then a building permit can be issued and construction can begin, he said.


Gilbert Krueger, chair of the Boyceville Ambulance District board and the Boyceville Fire District board, suggested that both districts do an audit.

At a meeting of the five-year planning committee in July, committee members discussed the ambulance rotation and when it might be possible to buy a new ambulance.

Feeney had said that several EMTs who had been around many years had mentioned that at one time, there was $35,000 in an account for buying a new ambulance, but that neither he nor the EMTs knew what had happened to the money.

The five-year planning committee had also discussed hiring someone as a clerk-treasurer for the districts so that the burden of extra work would not continue to fall on Cindy Swanepoel, Boyceville clerk-treasurer.

Krueger was of the opinion that the idea of $35,000 unaccounted for, combined with the desire to hire a clerk-treasurer, hinted that there had been some impropriety on the part of the village.

Members of the five-year planning committee assured and reassured Krueger that the comments were made in regard to developing a five-year plan and a budget and had absolutely nothing to do with the clerk-treasurer’s job performance or suspecting that someone had taken money.

The five-year planning committee has a responsibility to come up with a budget and a five-year plan, said Rich Monn, chair of the five-year planning committee and a representative for the Town of Stanton.

Committee members were wondering if the extra work created by the fire and ambulance districts was acceptable to Swanepoel or whether she would prefer that the districts hire someone else to serve as clerk-treasurer, said Ned Hahn, representing the Town of Hay River.

Several committee members noted that since the fire and ambulance districts are now separate from the village, it is not fair to expect the village to provide services, and if the village does provide services, what would be an acceptable reimbursement to the village.

The fire district and the ambulance district each reimburse the village $1,000 annually for Swanepoel’s services to do the payroll and a myriad of other tasks, such as producing the meeting minutes, paying the bills, answering questions about the bills, keeping the records and putting together the agenda for the meetings.

“It sounds like a ton of work, and we do not know how many hours (it takes),” Feeney said.

Krueger also pointed out that in October of 2006, the village borrowed $55,000 to put toward a new ambulance that cost nearly $143,000.

Borrowing $55,000 would seem to indicate that there was no money sitting in an account somewhere, he said.

Feeney agreed. “There was no money left over if you had to borrow money … if you borrowed $55,000, there was no account with $35,000, and that is why there is no record of the transfer,” he said.

Feeney asked for a copy of the paperwork that Krueger was referring to so that he could take the information to the EMTs.

Committee members continued to assure Krueger that no one had any issues with the job Swanepoel was doing as clerk-treasurer for the fire district and ambulance district and that, in fact, they very much appreciated all of the work she puts into the job.

The discussion at the five-year planning meeting in July was strictly for the purpose of developing a budget, which was one of the tasks the committee has been given by the fire district and ambulance district, Monn reiterated.