Rural Sturgis Ambulance Group working to get issue on ballot

STURGIS, S.D. (KBHB) – After meeting with the Sturgis City Council on Monday night to provide their fundraising update, the Rural Sturgis Ambulance Group met Wednesday night to plan their next step.

Fundraising so far has raised around $18,000 – not yet half of what the group needs to keep the Sturgis Ambulance Service running to the rural areas just outside city limits.

The City of Sturgis gave the rural residents who are currently served by the ambulance to come up with a way to help pay for the services, which city residents do in their property taxes, or lose it by the end of the year.

A fundraising effort to raise the requested $60,000 by the end of the year is on track; but the group knows it needs a more permanent solution.

At last night’s meeting, the group voted to begin the process of setting up an ambulance district.

Group spokesman Ross Lamphere says this is the right way to go.

Lamphere asked for volunteers at last night’s meeting to begin the process of collecting the necessary 257 signatures to send the issue to a vote. He says if the signatures are turned in by Dec. 20, they can set a special election for early March to have voters decide on the proposed ambulance district.

The district will be based on a special assessment on each home and business within the Sturgis Ambulance response area.

Lamphere says they will update the city on the group’s decision at next month’s council meeting. The city set a Nov. 18 deadline to have half of the requested $60,000 to keep the service going. That is the same night the group will update the city on its ambulance district plan so far.