Ambulance service to rural Codington County a hot topic of conversation Monday night  (Audio)

October 5, 2020
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.—Ambulance service to rural Codington County was a hot topic at Monday night’s Watertown City Council meeting.

Watertown Fire Rescue (WFR) Chief Doug Kranz and Assistant Chief Don Rowland (pictured) told the council that operating expenses are outpacing revenues, which is why WFR wants to collect what are in essence , “user fees” from 18 towns and townships in the county.

They currently have signed agreements with 12 of those 18 jurisdictions, and are receiving payments that vary based on population.

But there are holdouts, most notably the towns of Henry and Florence.

Under the terms of the agreement, WFR wants to charge Florence $2,500 a year for ambulance service, and Henry $1,500 a year.

The mayors of those two towns didn’t sound very enthused about the idea, and said as much at Monday night’s meeting.

Florence Mayor Patrick Callan…

Henry Mayor Don Larson says he doesn’t object to the amount his town would have to pay, but he does object to how the process played out…

Kranz says he wants to work with the two towns, and doesn’t want anyone left without ambulance service…

In addition to Florence and Henry, the townships of Eden, Phipps, Graceland and Henry have yet to sign the agreement.

The council voted unanimously to ask that the six holdouts sign a memorandum of understanding for the user fees by December 31st, or line up another ambulance service to serve their residents.