Kiel pitches ambulance plan to NH

City of Kiel officials visited last Wednesday’s New Holstein Common Council meeting to discuss plans to have the Kiel Ambulance Service upgrade to paramedic level service.

Kiel City Administrator Jamie Aulik said the ambulance service needs to add additional territory to make the upgrade work financially, and they would like that territory to include the city of New Holstein which has been served by Gold Cross Ambulance based at Ascension Calumet Hospital in Chilton.

Aulik said financial projections show Kiel Ambulance Service would need to come up with an additional $50,000 per year to make its upgrade work. Kiel area residents currently pay $3.25 per person per year for ambulance service, a per capita figure Aulik said they do not want to increase.

He said Kiel Ambulance Service has been having similar discussions with officials of the towns of Eaton, Meeme and New Holstein, and acquiring those territories along with the city of New Holstein and its roughly 200 calls per year would go a long way toward balancing the expanded budget of the ambulance service. About 75 percent of the town of New Holstein is already served by Kiel Ambulance.

The Kiel officials said some municipalities pay as much as $30 per capita for other ambulance services. The City of New Holstein does not pay a per capita fee for coverage from Gold Cross.

New Holstein Police Officer Rob Baldwin said at the meeting that some NHPD officers have reported experiencing delays in response times from the city’s current ambulance provider. Aulik said the proximity of Kiel to New Holstein and the fact that it has two ambulances will help Kiel Ambulance have a paramedic on scene in New Holstein in minutes. He added that there also is the possibility of employing a paramedic who resides in New Holstein. “It’s a very flexible system,” Aulik said.

Alderperson Becca Mosier said she sees the opportunity for faster response times by partnering with Kiel Ambulance Service. She said she had to call for an ambulance this summer and it took 20 minutes to arrive.

Kiel’s service will be required to provide 24/7 coverage and always have two people on call. The Kiel Fire Station does have facilities for ambulance personnel to stay if they wish. Kiel Ambulance Chief Dick Isely Jr. said the average ambulance roll time is 3.16 minutes.

Alderperson Scott Konkle said he believes this would be a great service because of the aging population in this area. Alderperson Eric Mayer said he has no complaints with Gold Cross other than occasional response times, but added, “I would be comfortable going with Kiel.”

New Holstein Mayor Jeff Hebl said, “It’s a really good opportunity for us to start working with Kiel.”

Several alderpersons said they would like more time to consider the proposal. “I don’t think this should be rushed into right now,” Brad Hess said. Fran Schmitz added, “I don’t think we need to move on it this evening.”

Alderperson Gene Woelfel said, “I like the idea very much.” He suggested having New Holstein City Administrator Casey Langenfeld put $10,300 in the proposed 2022 budget so that city officials can analyze the issue at the next Committee of the Whole meeting in early October. “I don’t think people are comfortable making a decision right now tonight,” Woelfel said.

His motion to add the figure to the proposed budget for the purpose of analysis was unanimously approved by the council.

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