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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Municipalities served by the Colfax Rescue Squad will be paying a per capita fee of $22.10, representing an increase per person of $4.43 over last year’s per capita of $17.67.
Increasing the per capita to $22.10 is necessary to help the rescue squad get the budget back on track, said Jody Albricht, village president, at the Colfax Village Board’s September 13 meeting.
Over the years, Colfax has not raised the per capita enough, said Gary Stene, village trustee.
All of the rescue squads are hurting, he noted.
Raising the per capita to $22.10 “is just a start,” Albricht said.
The Colfax Rescue Squad is owned by the Village of Colfax.
In addition to the Village of Colfax, the Colfax Rescue Squad serves the Villages of Elk Mound and Wheeler, and the Towns of Colfax, Elk Mound, Grant, Otter Creek, Sand Creek and Tainter.
The municipalities should consider using their COVID money for the rescue squad, Albricht said.
Municipalities have already received half of their American Rescue Plan Act funds for this year and will receive the second half next year.
Many of the municipalities are already using their ARPA funds for broadband expansion, Stene said.
The initial information received about the ARPA funds is that municipalities could spend it on sewer, water or broadband.
Stene said he would prefer that the village use the ARPA funds on streets, or more specifically, on the sewer and water lines that are replaced when the streets are rebuilt.
If each of the municipalities pitched in $10,000, that would be $90,000 total that could be put toward the rescue squad’s equipment fund, Albricht said.
At least one of the municipalities in the rescue squad’s service area, the Town of Otter Creek, which has a population of about 500, has already committed the entire $54,000 in ARPA funds that the town will receive to put toward broadband expansion. The funds will be paid out if the Internet service provider receives a grant for which the ISP has already applied.
The population in the rescue squad’s service area is nearly 8,200, so the additional money from increasing the per capita will be about $36,000.
The per capita amount will have to be revisited every year, said Mark Halpin, village trustee.
The Colfax Rescue Squad is proposing a budget of $448,038 for 2022, which compares to a budget of $414,206 for 2021, representing an increase of $33,832.
The proposed budget for 2022 assumes a 3 percent increase on the line items, such as insurance, utilities, patient expense, office expense, building expense and fleet expense.
According to information included in the Colfax Rescue Squad’s annual report, for 2021, the City of Menomonie had a per capita of $21 with a $1 per year increase for the next three years.
The per capita for the City of Chippewa Falls for 2021 was $27.50 while the per capita for the City of Eau Claire was $23.
At a meeting September 15, the Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board reviewed a budget of $434,000 for 2022, with a per capita charge of $33.
In addition to the per capita, the Boyceville ambulance service also charges each municipality a “run charge” which is based on the average number of runs to the municipality in the last three years. The proposed run charge for 2022 is $1,355.90.
The Village of Boyceville, for example, will pay a per capita of $36,000 for 2022, along with a run charge of $93,365 for a total assessment for the village’s portion of the ambulance service of $129,000.
Here are the total proposed per capita charges for the Colfax Rescue Squad’s 2022 budget by municipality at $22.10:
• Village of Colfax — $24,354.20, compared to $19,348.65 for 2021, representing an increase of $5,005.55.
• Town of Colfax — $28,707.90, compared to $22,670.61 for 2021, representing an increase of $6,037.29.
• Village of Elk Mound — $19,381.70, compared to $15,390.57 for 2021, representing an increase of $3,991.13.
• Town of Elk Mound — $42,984.50, compared to $34,103.10 for 2021, representing an increase of $8,881.40.
• Town of Grant — $8,751.60, compared to $6,926.64 for 2021, representing an increase of $1,824.96.
• Town of Otter Creek — $11,293.10, compared to $8,781.99 for 2021, representing an increase of $2,511.11.
• Town of Sand Creek — $12,862.20, compared to $10,142.58 for 2021, representing an increase of $2,719.62.
• Town of Tainter — $27,094.60, compared to $21,416.04 for 2021, representing an increase of $5,678.56.
• Village of Wheeler — $7,646.60, compared to $6,060.81 for 2021, representing an increase of $1,585.79.