By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Rescue Squad is proposing a $464,189 budget for 2019, representing an increase of $1,726 over the 2018 budget.
Don Knutson, director of the Colfax Rescue Squad, reviewed the 2019 budget at the annual meeting August 29.
The Colfax Rescue Squad serves the Towns of Colfax, Elk Mound, Grant, Otter Creek, Sand Creek and Tainter as well as the Villages of Colfax, Elk Mound and Wheeler.
The Colfax Rescue Squad will be raising the rates for ambulance services in 2019, Knutson said.
The rates are adjusted by percentage according to the Consumer Price Index, which amounts to an increase of 1.7 percent for medical services and an increase of 25.2 percent for fuel.
The resident base rate (people living within the Colfax Rescue Squad’s service area) for basic life support will increase $14.45, going from $850 to $864.45.
The non-resident base rate for basic life support will increase $17.85, going from $1,050 to $1,067.85.
The resident base rate for advanced life support will increase by $18.70, going from $1,100 to $1118.70.
The non-resident base rate for advanced life support will increase by $20.40, going from $1,200 to $1,220.40
The mileage rate for residents will increase by $4.26, going from $16.92 to $21.18.
The mileage rate for non-residents will increase by $4.59, going from $18.23 to $22.82.
A refusal of ambulance services will increase by $3.47, the same rate for residents and non-residents, going from $203.96 to $207.43.
The standby rate for a school event will increase by $1.02, going from $60 to $61.02 per event.
The charge for an EMT at a private event per hour will increase by 51 cents, going from $30 to $30.51.
The rate for having an ambulance at a private event will increase by $7.56, going from $30 per hour to $37.56.
Even with the increases, the Colfax Rescue Squad rates are still in line with other ambulance services in the area, Knutson said.
The per capita charge for the member municipalities will increase by 25 cents for 2019, going from $16.42 to $16.67.
The 25 cent increase represents an increase of 1.5 percent, Knutson noted.
The per capita rate increased by 25 cents last year as well, but the per capita rate before 2018 had not increased since 2013.
The increase for the Village of Colfax will amount to $362.35 for a total proposed per capita for 2019 of $18,687.07.
The increase for the Town of Colfax will amount to $430.19 for a total proposed per capita for 2019 of $21,020.87.
The increase for the Village of Elk Mound will amount to $200.83 for a total proposed per capita for 2019 of $14,486.23.
The increase for the Town of Elk Mound will amount to $609.61 for a total proposed per capita for 2019 of $31,889.71.
The increase for the Town of Grant will amount to $114.92 for a total proposed per capita for 2019 of $6.567.98.
The increase for the Town of Otter Creek will amount to $109.98 for a total proposed per capita for 2019 of $8,368.34.
The increase for the Town of Sand Creek will amount to $193.51 for a total proposed per capita for 2019 of $9,618.59.
The increase for the Town of Tainter (half of the population) will amount to $253.24 for a total proposed per capita for 2019 of $20,170.70.
The increase for the Village of Wheeler will amount to $52.91 for a total proposed per capita for 2019 of $5,717.81.
The Colfax Rescue Squad expects to end the year with a total of about 450 calls, or about same number of calls as last year, Knutson said.
In 1985, the Colfax Rescue Squad went out on about 170 calls.
In 2017, the majority of the calls were in the Village of Colfax, with the next highest amount being in the Town of Elk Mound followed by the Village of Elk Mound, followed by the Town of Colfax and the Town of Tainter, which were about equal.
Ten year plan
This year, the rescue squad installed WiFi in the Medic 8 ambulance.
The ambulance WiFi has increased the capacity for broadcasting EKGs to hospitals, Knutson noted.
The WiFi signal is strong enough that if the Internet access were to go down in the rescue squad building itself, the Internet could still be accessed through Medic 8, he said.
Although the rescue squad had planned to purchase two self-loading cots this year, a Homeland Security grant for $50,000 was turned down, Knutson said.
The Homeland Security grants give priority to fire departments, so Knutson said he was not surprised the Colfax Rescue Squad grant was turned down.
The floor drain this year for $10,000 and a new stove for $500 were also put on hold until funding is available, he said.
The rescue squad plans to replace an office computer next year for $1,000, to purchase a “tough computer” for $3,500 and to seal coat the floor for $1,900.
In 2020, the rescue squad expects to replace the washer and dryer for $1,000. The current washer and dryer are already 10 to 15 years old.
The rescue squad also expects to replace one of the ambulances in 2020 at a cost of approximately $215,000.
There will probably not be enough money set aside to purchase a new ambulance, even though the rescue squad has been setting aside $30,000 per year, so some of the purchase price may have to be financed, Knutson said.
Another of the larger expenses in the next few years will be defibrillators for $70,000 in 2023. The existing defibrillators will be 10 years old by then, he noted.
The next ambulance is expected to be replaced in 2025.