Sturgis City Council extends ambulance funding deadline to end of year
STURGIS, SD — The Sturgis City Council has just given 4000 Meade county residents the gift of time Monday night, after they were in danger of losing their ambulance service from the city at midnight.
The council extended a funding deadline until December 31st. If a solution isn’t found then those 4000 people, as well as campgrounds will lose ambulance service provided by the city.
Sturgis officials have said they can’t afford to continue servicing residents and businesses in outlying areas. This all comes after voters rejected creating an ambulance district which would help pay for the service outside of Sturgis.
Numerous community members spoke out at the meeting, pleading with the council to extend the deadline to come up with a funding solution.
“I know that when I need a cop at my front door that the guys in blue back there aren’t going to stop at the city limits if they know I need help,” says Meade County resident Andy Hollander, “They’re going to come to my house and they’ve done it on the past.”
The council says that out of the $60,000 deficit, $10,000 is the amount used by the Buffalo Chip and Full Throttle campground.
Some suggest creating a committee that would reach out to residents outside of the city limits, and to ask for donations to the ambulance service.
In South Dakota ambulances are not considered an essential service.
“This is something that not just here, “says Sturgis ambulance director Shawn Fischer, “This is something that we need to talk to our legislators about changing fire and ambulance to be essential.”
With the extension the community now has until the end of the year to find a solution to the ambulance funding issue.