Sturgis City Council votes to amend ambulance service area

STURGIS, S.D. (KBHB) – The Sturgis City Council Monday night voted to amend the service area of its ambulance area after many area campgrounds served by it failed to come up with a funding proposal.

Residents of Sturgis and some surrounding areas like Fort Meade, pay for the Sturgis Ambulance Service in their property taxes. For years, those residents have shouldered the average $35,000 loss to those campgrounds that don’t pay into it.

Council members had hoped to reach a compromise – but in the end, felt it was better for the city to step back, and let those affected come up with a solution.

Councilman Ron Waterland says if those areas want the Sturgis Ambulance to serve them, they’re ready to talk. But, he says they can no longer get it for free.

Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen says the newly amended service area will not take effect until July 15 – giving campground owners and affected residents – like those in Blucksberg – time to come up with a proposal if they want the city to be their ambulance provider.

Some campground owners said they may go to the County Commission and ask for help, but Commissioner Doreen Creed, in attendance at Monday night’s meeting, says most of the county has fire and ambulance services – and they pay for it. The only outstanding area is the current one losing the Sturgis Ambulance Service. She doesn’t believe the county would provide funding without some kind of financial support from the people an ambulance would serve.

Council members say they can amend the response area as groups come together with a plan to pay for the services.