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By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board has reviewed a budget of $417,484 for 2022, but added $17,000 for Emergency Medical Technician wages.
The 2022 budget of $417,484 includes a $2 per hour raise for the EMTs, so that the advanced EMTs will be paid $12 per hour, and the basic EMTs will be paid $11 per hour, said Wayne Dow, director of the Boyceville ambulance service, at the Boyceville ambulance board’s September 15 meeting.
One member of the ambulance district board noted that the starting pay at Culver’s is $15 per hour.
Every $1 added per hour for EMT pay adds $17,000 to the total budget, Dow said.
Dow noted that if the Boyceville ambulance service implemented using “promoted positions,” which would be captains for the ambulance service, the pay would be $4,000 per year, but that Dow’s salary would then decrease by $4,000 per year.
As EMS chief, Dow is currently paid $18,000 per year.
Paul Heifner, representative for the Town of Sherman, said he believed the EMTs should receive an additional $1 per hour in pay.
Paying an additional $1 per hour will add $17,000 to the budget, but the budget would still be less than last year’s total budget, he said.
The initially proposed budget for 2022 of $417,484 compares to a budget of $453,697 for 2021.
Marv Prestrud, representative for the Town of New Haven, suggested splitting the difference and starting out the year with a 50-cent raise and then adding another 50 cents later in the year.
Chuck Siler, representative for the Town of Tiffany, asked whether standby pay and run pay are the same for the EMTs.
The EMTs at Boyceville are paid“straight hours,” Dow said.
Some services will pay something like $4 per hour for standby, but then if the EMTs go out on a run, they are paid $40 for the run, he said.
There is a shortage of EMTs everywhere, and maybe an additional increase in pay would help Boyceville to obtain more EMTs, Heifner said.
Dow is currently spending much of his time at the ambulance station, and “we have to do something” so the ambulance chief is not there all of the time, he said.
Heifner asked if Dow thought Boyceville would have more ambulance runs if there were more EMTs and wondered if people were avoiding calling for the ambulance because they are aware of the EMT shortage.
“No, I don’t think people are avoiding calling (for the ambulance) because we are short staffed,” Dow said.
The call volume seems to be staying about the same, he said.
Studies have shown that in rural areas, 50 to 75 percent of the people drive themselves to the hospital with ailments such as heart attacks and strokes, he said.
The rural attitude is “I will leave the ambulance for someone else. I’m okay to get myself there,” Dow said.
The Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board unanimously approved a $3 an hour increase in wages for EMTs rather than the initially proposed $2 per hour.
“Anything we can do to help get EMTs,” said Bob Anderson, representative for the Town of Stanton, who seconded the motion made by Heifner.
Member municipalities of the Boyceville ambulance district will review the proposed budget at their next meetings, and the ambulance district board will vote on the final budget at the next meeting on October 13 at 7 p.m.at the Boyceville Village Hall.
With the approved raise for EMTs, the proposed budget for 2022 would include $227,000 for EMT wages and also includes $17,844 in principal and interest on the ambulance station and $28,628 in principal and interest on Medic 10.
In addition, the proposed budget for 2022 includes $17,000 for coverage agreements with other ambulance services to cover those calls when Boyceville does not have enough EMTs at the station.
Proposed assessments for 2022 are as follows and include per capita plus the run charge based on the average of the last three years:
• Town of Hay River — $16,470 per capita at $29.15 (or a $2,260 increase to account for the additional $1 per hour increase in wages over the originally budgeted amount), plus $21,694 for the run charge for a total assessment of $38,164 (or $40,424 with the additional $1 per hour). The assessment for 2021 was $35,375.
• Town of New Haven — $17,946 per capita at $29.15 (or an increase of $2,464 to account for the additional $1 increase in wages), plus $20,790 for the run charge for a total assessment of $38,747 (or $41,211). The assessment for 2021 was $36,435.
• Town of Sheridan — $4,635 per capita at $29.15 (or an increase of $636 to account for the increase in wages), plus $4,972 for the run charge for a total assessment of $9,606 (or $10,242). The assessment for 2021 was $11,854.
• Town of Sherman — $16,994 per capita at $29.15 (or an increase of $1,932 to account for the increase in wages), plus $14,463 for the run charge for a total assessment of $31,457 (or $33,389). The assessment for 2021 was $29,812.
• Town of Stanton — $23,466 per capita at $29.15 (or an increase of $3,220 to account for the increase in wages), plus $21,242 for the run charge for a total assessment of $44,708 (or $47,928). The assessment for 2021 was $45,915.
• Town of Tiffany — $18,219 per capita at $29.15 (or an increase of $2,500 to account for the increase in wages), plus $23,050 for the run charge for a total assessment of $41,269 (or $43,769). The assessment for 2021 was $39,474.
• Village of Boyceville — $31,657 per capita at $29.15 (or an increase of $4,334 to account for the increase in wages), plus $93,365 for the run charge for a total assessment of $127,022 (or $131,366).
The assessment for 2021 was $107,504.
In other business, the Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board:
• Learned that the ambulance service had 134 calls to date, which included 23 calls since the last meeting in August. Boyceville responded to eight of the calls, and five of the calls were covered one by Glenwood City, one by Colfax and three by Menomonie.
• Learned the ambulance service roster has 13 EMTs. Three of the EMTs are back in college now, and two of them are doing their clinical work for paramedic certification, Dow said. Two more have had a change in jobs and will likely be more limited on the time they can devote to the ambulance service. One potential new hire is waiting for state approval, and two additional people are now in the testing phase for receiving their EMT certification, he said. “We’re still challenged, to put it bluntly,” Dow said.
• Learned that the Boyceville ambulance service participated in two parades at the Boyceville Cucumber Festival and at Glenwood City Rustic Lore.
• Learned that the Boyceville ambulance service is staffed with two people about 50 percent of the time but that there is 100 percent coverage of at least one person.
• Approved holding monthly meetings for the next year instead of the quarterly meetings that are included in the bylaws that were recently approved. Dow needs a full year to be able to consult the board, said Russell Hitz, representative for the Town of Hay River. “We should give him a chance to get his feet wet with a year under his belt and look at quarterly meetings next year,” he said. Dow agreed. “Surprises will come up,” he said. The Boyceville Village Board has offered the use of the village hall for ambulance district meetings.
• Learned that the overpayment issue with two of the EMTs who resigned as captains has been resolved, approved withholding $107.14 from wages paid to Shanna Knops and agreed to send a letter stating the overpayment is resolved and paid in full.
The Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board meets next on October 13 at 7 p.m. at the Boyceville Village Hall.