Riley County commissioners unanimously approved to add an ambulance to the northern part of the county.
The commission gave EMS administration the go ahead to start the process for building a new ambulance station. This includes finding an architect, position requests, and determine where to put the station.
“To me, it’s obvious that we need to put a station up there, we have ARPA money. It will basically just need a small house and an oversized garage. We have a chance to do that now,” says Commission Chair Greg McKinley.
Commissioner Kathryn Focke says last week’s special meeting was emotional and insightful.
“I’m always fiscally conservative, but I think this something beyond that. More of a basic health issue that people expect to have services for their health, or services the city and rest of the county have,” says Focke.
The commission has until 2024 to put a plan in place to use the ARPA funds.
Commissioner John Ford, who has been adamant about a new station, says he is fine using ARPA funding, but still sees concerns with personnel and operating costs.
“We’re struggling with personal right now with a 70% overtime. We have to figure out a way to that, it’s gonna be problematic,” says Ford.
The cost to fully staff the station, which includes six members of staff, would come out to around $625,000 annually.
No city has yet been determined to house the station, but both Leonardville and Randolph have offered areas. Emergency Management Director Russell Stukey says Leonardville has plenty of city owned land and Randolph’s mayor is offering land behind the fire station.
Neither entities will have costs associated to them, however the Randolph city council will need to approve the transaction.
EMS David Adams says his department has already looked at some of these locations.
“We’ve gone even as far as to say, if we put an ambulance in Randolph and we kept the county shop, where would be that line?” says Adams. “It would be around Barton Road, so Leonardville and University Park would be north, and everything else would be south.”
In the meantime, a two full time paramedic positions will be created that would be based out of the Leonardville fire station. Two will switch 12 hour shifts to provide a quicker response to bed side care. This initiative was originally presented as an ambulance alternative to the commission in December.
Adams says filling these positions could take a couple of months.
“About two to two and half months to get somebody through their onboarding process and released,” says Adams. “We estimate that the cost for the two paramedics will come to around $180,000 a year.”
Adams says they will need to start advertising immediately and ask within the department as well.
You can hear the entire discussion from the meeting here.