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Killdeer Ambulance Service to receive financial help

MANNING -- More financial help is on the way for the Killdeer Ambulance Service.

Of the $5.8 million in Dunn County's special projects fund, the county's commission agreed to commit $300,000 of it to the ambulance service, using money collected from permit fees for crew camps.

Bob Schettler, a member of the Killdeer Ambulance Service board of directors, said the ambulance service is struggling to meet expenses as the area grows.

"Things have popped up a lot quicker and a lot harder than we thought they would, and in order to fulfill our schedule now, we have three individuals on full-time status, which means we're paying them," he said at Wednesday's commission meeting at the Dunn County Courthouse, where Schettler made the ambulance service's request for additional funding.

At least two people are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with total employee salaries this year estimated to cost $73,300, Schettler said.

"We budgeted $140,000 for salaries, but we're going to be a little short," he said. "We've got a building project going and we have completed our two houses for low-cost employee living, so we can hire somebody in here because if they can't find housing, reasonable housing, it's hard to get anybody."

So far for 2013, Schettler said there have been 125 calls. In all of 2012, there were 288 calls and in 2011, there were 210 calls.

"It's jumped," he said. "To top it all off, a good percentage of these we don't collect on. When we get a street address for the parking lot of Cenex, it's kind of hard to collect on those."

The commission suggested asking the public for another 5 mills to bring the ambulance service up to the 10 mills they can request.

The mill levy for the ambulance service brought in $77,800, but because many non-residents are receiving help, the ambulance service was reluctant to request more funding.

Schettler said they are trying to apply for grants and other funds.

The Killdeer Ambulance Service, serves more than 3,000 people within a 956-square-mile area that includes, homes, oil rigs, crew camps and RV parks, along with serving as mutual aid for neighboring counties and communities.

Anne Hafner, Killdeer Ambulance Service manager, said the assistance from the commission also goes to helping the ambulance service in Halliday -- the only other ambulance service in Dunn County.

"We're starting to really work together a lot, so any help given to us will help them, too," Hafner said.

Because of all of the growth in its services, the Killdeer Ambulance Service purchased a new ambulance with grant money and broke ground last week on a new hall at the corner of Center Avenue and High Street in Killdeer.

The project is estimated to cost $875,000. The new hall is expected to be completed in early 2014.

Schettler said a total of $481,000 in grant funds have been received for the new hall construction, and said a local bank has agreed to loan the ambulance service $200,000, plus interest.

"We're going to be applying for energy-impact grants if there are any available," Schettler said. "We're planning a 5K to help bring in a little money and some awareness to the community."