Ambulance service, new fire truck on agenda

There will be at least two items of major significance in front of the Grandview Committee-of-the-whole and Grandview City Council meetings tomorrow at 5:30 p.m and 7 p.m. at Council Chambers at City Hall, 207 W. 2nd St.

The big item Council will consider is the purchase of a new fire truck at a cost of $600,000. The COTW will review the state of ambulance service and perhaps recommend to Council that it be changed.

On the fire truck, the city would put up $50,000 of the cost of the fire truck. The remaining $550,000 would be financed through the Community Facilities Program of the Rural Housing Service of the United State Department of agriculture.

Council will consider two ordinances to enable the fire truck purchase. The first provides for the issuance of limited tax general obligation bond in the amount of $550,000. The second authorizes the incurrence of indebtedness.

The ambulance service matter arose in March when Prosser Memorial Hospital Ambulance (PMHA) informed the city it was operating at $600,000 in the red and needed to find a way to generate new revenue.

City Administrator Cus Arteaga has been working on the matter since then. He has made short- and long-term recommendations

Currently, Grandview’s ambulance service comes at no cost. PMHA pays $356.96 per month for space at the Grandview Fire Station. It houses an ambulance and a 2-person team for one eight-hour shift: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Calls at other hours of the day are answered from PMHA’s Prosser office.

PMHA’s suggestion was that the City of Grandview support a bond election this fall that would generate $180,000 yearly. The PMHA service has been working on the cost to Grandview in an interlocal agreement between the hospital and the city.

Arteaga has gone a different route and is suggesting a similar relationship with Sunnyside’s ambulance service and Astria Sunnyside Hospital.

He noted in correspondence to Council and mayor that the mayor and several Sunnyside leaders brought Astria into the equation at a meeting that included Arteaga.

The result of that is that Astria will contribute $215,000 per year to the support of the Sunnyside-Grandview agreement for five years.

After that, there was no question for Arteaga. PMHA is asking for $180,000 per year for service. For the same service, Sunnyside would require $126,000 from Grandview.

Arteaga said PMHA wants Grandview to help purchase a new ambulance. Sunnyside would want that after two years.

The recommendations are similar, but the long-range plan includes the flexibility to make needed changes caused the passage of time.

The short-term plan does not ask for an ambulance fee from the Grandview public. The long-term plan does.

Arteaga said the funds collected would support vehicle replacements, equipment upgrades and labor costs.

“I would strongly recommend a 20-year agreement with automatic 20-year renewals, unless 12-month termination notice is submitted by either part,” he said.



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