Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Funding changes coming for ambulance services

Municipal contribution would be based on number of parcels instead of population

Keith Vandervort
Posted 9/21/17

ELY – City Council members here approved a new funding model for contribution amounts to the Ely Area Ambulance Joint Powers Board based on the number of parcels versus population.

If approved …

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Funding changes coming for ambulance services

Municipal contribution would be based on number of parcels instead of population

Posted

ELY – City Council members here approved a new funding model for contribution amounts to the Ely Area Ambulance Joint Powers Board based on the number of parcels versus population.

If approved by the other three members, city of Winton, Morse Township and Fall Lake Township, the new funding plan could be adopted in 2018, resulting in a substantial increase in the Joint Powers Board contributions to the Ely Area Ambulance Service.

In introducing the changes to the funding model, Mayor Chuck Novak highlighted the trending population decrease in the Ely area. “Every one of the four participants in the Ambulance Service Joint Powers is experiencing declines in population,” he said. “There is a perception out there that this is not happening, but it is.”

According to the Minnesota State Demographer’s office, the four area municipalities had a 2016 population of 5,273, a decline of 53 residents from the 2015 population of 5,326. The 2015 population was down 81 residents from a 2014 population of 5,407.

Specifically, the changes to the population in Ely in the last five years are: 2012- 3,459; 2013-3,477, 2014-3,491; 2015-3,433; 2016-3,404. Morse Township has seen its population decline from 1,214 in 2012 to 1,189 in 2016. Fall Lake Township has seen a decline in population from 549 in 2012 to 515 in 2016. The population of Winton has declined from 170 in 2012 to 165 in 2016.

Based on those population figures, the municipality contributions to the Joint Powers Ambulance Board, set at $5.05 per person, totaled $26,628 in 2016.

The Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital contributes 20 percent of the total municipality contribution.

The population-based Joint Powers Board contribution will be continued in 2017, Novak said, but the group’s board of directors recently considered a contribution model based on the number of parcels in each municipality. “That concept is there primarily because the population numbers of the summer seasonal residents are not taken into account, but they expect ambulance services when they need it,” he said.

Rather than the city of Ely taking $17,190 out of its budget to pay the Joint Powers Ambulance Board, the funds, based on $5 per parcel, would come directly from property owners in each municipality.

The per-parcel contribution model in 2018 could total $36,050 from 7,210 parcels, including $10,945 from Ely property owners, $12,865 from Morse Township property owners, $11,515 from Fall Lake property owners and $725 from Winton property owners. All parcels would be included, not just those with a residential structure.

Novak noted that in the current formula the contribution for ambulance service from a two-person household is $10.10. “That would be a rate cut to $5 because they live on just the one parcel,” he said. “We’ll get those (seasonal residents) that haven’t been paying.”

Council member Paul Kess made a motion for the city to support the per-parcel contribution model for the Ely Area Ambulance Joint Powers Board. The motion was supported by Jerome Debeltz and unanimously approved.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• Approved the appointment of John Ess to the Projects Committee;

• Approved commercial renovation loan applications for Roots Salon for a water line installation project at $17,500, and Ely Steam Bath for a new boiler at $6,054;

• Renewed the City Attorney contract with Klun Law Firm for 2018-2019 with an increase of the flat retainer fee from $58,000 per year to $60,000 per year, and an increase of the non-standard hourly rate from $99 per hour to $110 per hour;

• Approved a sewer point of sale inspection report, contested by the property owner, and ordered the replacement of a cracked sewer pipe at 338 E. James St.;

• OK’d a Commercial Purchase Agreement between John Ott (Pastika Building LLC) and the city of Ely for the tax forfeited property at 209 E. Chapman St.

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