County compromises on ambulance station
Commissioners vote 4-1 to build station for $275,000
County commissioners compromised with Hillsboro Monday by agreeing to build a new ambulance station in return for land and water and sewer services from the city.
Emergency Medical Service director Travis Parmley suggested a month ago that the county purchase a former gun shop in north Hillsboro and build a two-bay garage for the ambulances.
The following week, Hillsboro city administrator Larry Paine spoke to commissioners about the city’s plan to build a public safety center at the north end of the city to house police, fire, and emergency medical services.
The city plans to build the center in five years after paying off current bonds, Paine said.
Commission chairman Jonah Gehring said Monday that saving $30,000 rent money to house personnel near the Hillsboro fire department over five years doesn’t justify the expense of purchasing and remodeling the gun shop and building an ambulance garage.
Gehring said the present location is central to the town.
The proposed site would take longer to reach nursing facilities in the southern part of town, he said.
Commissioner Dianne Novak said the location Parmley proposed is near the highway, and the ambulance crew could quickly be on the highway to reach someone out of Hillsboro city limits.
Commissioner Kent Becker said the county could budget for building an EMS facility.
“I wish we’d get away from nitpicking,” commissioner Randy Dallke said. “It’s eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”
Dallke said the county needs to treat all its cities the same.
“I thought we were trying to do the best we can with the money,” Dallke said. Parmley said he wants to add a mid-level supervisor to the Hillsboro station, so if the county decides to build, he’d prefer to have three bedrooms instead of two.
His original proposal was to convert the gun shop into a two-bedroom living space.
Gehring said the county could build a station for $275,000, using $125,000 from this year’s budget and $150,000 from the 2021 budget.
Hillsboro would extend its water and sewer service to the location the city suggests, he said.
Dallke moved that if Hillsboro will provide the ground and extend water and sewer service for a 40-by-80 foot building with parking area, the county build an ambulance station there.
The motion passed on a 4-1 vote, with Novak opposed. Novak said the county is giving up what it can afford now for “a pipe dream” that Hillsboro will build a public safety center in five years.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2020