Cokato ambulance and fire calls down from 2008
By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN The new ambulance has arrived and is already getting its money’s worth, reported Cokato Ambulance Service Director Jim Erickson during Monday’s Cokato City Council meeting.
The council approved the purchase of a 2009, Chevy Lifeline (Type III) for $107,200 during a special meeting Dec. 21.
Prior to that, a declaration of emergency was declared after Carl Harju, council member and ambulance service member, reported the previous vehicle was becoming unreliable and experiencing several mechanical issues.
Erickson also presented to the council a “calls for service” report for 2009, showing calls were down from the previous year, but that there were more transports.
In 2008, there were 360 calls for service, but in 2009, there were 318, according to Erickson.
“Probably because there were [fewer] car accidents,” Erickson said.
Erickson also informed the council, the ambulance service was applying for a grant for the purchase of a portable rescue lift, or gurney, that is capable of lifting up to 650 pounds.
The total cost is about $12,000 and would be recommended for purchase even if a grant is not awarded.
The need would be to prevent injuries in emergency personel and employee compensation claims, according to Council Member Butch Amundsen, explaining injury compensation claims could cost the city more than the gurney itself.
Council Member Gordy Erickson asked if the ambulance service charged customers if there wasn’t a transport.
Jim Erickson said, at this point in time, there is no charge for calls without a transport, but that it could be looked into, especially for calls requiring IVs and other costly equipment.
Fire calls also down
Cokato Fire Chief Mike Holmquist reported fire calls were down significantly from last year, but still within average range.
Throughout 2009, there was a total of 65 calls for service. Last year, there were 103 calls for service.
Holmquist reported there was only one weather watch, which was also down from previous years.
Cokato Township had the most calls for service with 26, which Holmquist attributes to Highway 12, where there were seven car accidents.
Mayor Bruce Johnson thanked both Holmquist and Erickson for their service, along with that of their crew.
Building permits, valuation reports
New building permit and valuation data for 2009 was reported and there were no single family (new) construction permits issued. There were, however, 58 residential permits issued for upgrades and remodels and 10 industrial/commercial/expansion permits issued.
There was a total of $810,200 in new building valuation data for 2009.
In other business
Other items of business were discussed, including the following:
• The council approved a $1,500 contribution for a new pre-built storage shed in Veterans Memorial Park. The remaining costs of the project, which totals $3,750, will be paid for with a $1,500 contribution from the park commission, and $750 from the Lions.
• Fire contracts were approved for the service areas of Stockholm, French Lake, and Cokato Townships.
• Council Member Gordy Erickson received a complaint about snow being piled up around the crosswalk buttons at the Highway 12/Broadway Avenue crosswalks.
The public works director was asked to look into this.
• The council had a brief discussion, based on a letter from the city attorney, about the site lease and conversion program with Unison.
The council decided to table this until the February meeting, pending further information from the city’s financial advisor and attorney.
• The council directed staff to advertise for an opening on the park commission, as Christine Lawyer has requested not to be on for another term. Currently serving on the park commission are Carl Harju, Joe Harmala, Tim Dobmeier, and Deb Hendrickson.
• Butch Amundsen gave a report of just over $3,300 for snow removal, which came in slightly over budget after the recent Christmas blizzard, but under what was anticipated.