Kerkhoven ambulance gets cash infusion

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Kerkhoven’s ambulance service will be getting a $102,698 check from Swift County for the purchase of a new ambulance. The board of commissioners approved the payment at its meeting Nov. 19.
Commissioner Eric Rudningen, whose District 5 includes the Kerkhoven area, abstained from the vote because he is currently the director of the ambulance service for the community.
Commissioner Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton, moved that the county board approve the expenditure of $102,698 with a second by Commissioner Pete Peterson, District 3-south Benson. The motion passed with Peterson, Hendrickx, Commissioner Gary Klemm, District 2-rural north Benson, and Commissioner Joe Fox, District 4-Hegbert Township, voting in favor.
The expenditure for the ambulance was in the county’s budget and is part of a rotating program that helps the Kerkhoven, Appleton and Benson ambulance services with the purchase of new vehicles.
Once every three years the county contributes funds toward the purchase of a new ambulance for one of the three communities and 2013 was Kerkhoven turn in the rotation.
Swift County started giving the three ambulance services $40,000 each toward the purchase of a new ambulance back in the 1980s. Then in the 1990s the cost of ambulances starting rising rapidly and commissioners agreed to go up 5 percent a year in their donation.
Though the donation is made every three years, the amount of the contribution still goes up 5 percent on the previous year’s base.  The amount goes up more than 15 percent every three years because the interest compounds.
Following is a schedule of contributions made by the county toward the three ambulance services in the past and what the future amounts will be based on the current formula.

Swift County
Ambulance Donations

2004    Kerkhoven received    $66,000
2007    Appleton received     $76,000
2010    Benson received    $88,000
2013    Kerkhoven received    $102,698
2016     Appleton due     $118,886
2019    Benson due     $137,625

The contribution pays about 60 percent of the cost of a new ambulance, though the total cost depends on the quality and extras of the ambulance.

Photo:  Recent SCBH ambulance and crew in Benson.

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