MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL TOWN BOARD MEETING
OF JANUARY 23, 2003 WITH THE TOWN OF HIGHLAND
Chairman Dick Smith called the meeting to order at 6:30PM.
Smith asked who would start the discussion. Chairman Steve Kelsey of the Town of Highland started the discussion.
Kelsey went over the old charges and said the Town of Highland was not looking for free gratis service. The bottom line was money. They would like an agreement between the Town of Barnes and the Town of Highland for coverage for their people. Smith said that the Town of Drummond has an agreement with the Town of Barnes ambulance service to provide ambulance service for its residents. The ambulance service charges $300.00 for the residents of Barnes plus $.085 a mile. For non-residents, it is $350.00 plus $.085 a mile. The amount that Drummond paid this past year was $2,378.00 per the contract they have with Barnes. Kelsey was given a copy of the contract to look at.
Kelsey asked how many calls we had to Drummond in the last three years? It was noted that there were about 10 calls in the last 36 months.
Kelsey asked if the Barnes ambulance was well equipped? Viola Friermood said it was equipped over and above what was needed and that it has always passed inspections.
The question was asked how many people the Barnes ambulance served. The answer was six hundred in the winter to several thousands in the summer months.
Kelsey asked who drafted the agreement and it was said to be the Town of Drummond with their attorney. Kelsey asked if the Town of Drummond had considered redoing the contact?
Dick Collyard from Gold Cross Ambulance said that Gold Cross does the service without a subsidy agreement. This would be up to Highland, however, if they want another service to come. Gold Cross will be available for intercepts as usual. Gold Cross is called at the same time anyway. There is only one bill from Gold Cross. It was stated that the cost of Gold Cross is higher.
Kelsey asked if the Town of Highland would be on an equal basis with the Town of Drummond? Yes. He also asked what happens if the Barnes ambulance was out of town when Drummond called? The Iron River ambulance would be on stand by if needed at that time. The Town of Highland would have Gold Cross coming if Barnes was unavailable.
If this agreement were adopted, how would it affect the Town of Highland? Keith Kesler from the Emergency Government 911 system said if a Town of Highland resident called 911, it would ring in Douglas County and for the Town of Highland First Responders. Douglas County could ask Bayfield County to dispatch the Barnes Ambulance if it were needed. He said that the Town of Highland needed to pass a resolution. The residents need to feel confident that they will get the right responders in the quickest time.
Chris Webb asked if the Barnes Ambulance would be the primary responder? No, it would be Gold Cross, but it would be dispatched as close as simultaneous as possible. Dick Collyard said that Douglas County was obligated to call Gold Cross, but it could dispatch Barnes if the plan were implemented. Kesler said to get the papers signed and then it would be legal for Barnes to be the responder if needed. Chris Webb said the people need to rely on the 911 services.
Kelsey asked if there had to be an agreement for fire protection? Kesler said yes there has to be a signed agreement. The Joint Powers agreement has to be signed. This says that the services donít stop at the county line. The Town of Highland will bring this issue to their residents, as they need protection on the south end of town. The fire departments should have an updated mutual aid agreement. The original contract is from the early 1990ís. There could be a small problem over dispatch of 911. If a call comes in from a cell phone, there is no way to tell where the call came in from as each cellular service has its own point of origin depending on the towers.
The fire chief from the Town of Highland said that they prefer to have everyone, both services called out, because it is better to have too many responders than not enough. He also said that Highland has water rescue suits, etc. to help Barnes out if necessary.
Jack Meinke asked if the agreement for money from the Town of Drummond included the fire department. No, it is a mutual aid agreement with the fire department and the money is only for the ambulance service protection. There was a question on who bears the cost of a fire? Most of the time it is the responding fire department and then they can request to be reimbursed for the supplies that they have used. Chris Webb said that there had been some monetary consideration on the previous agreement with Highland, of $1,900.00. Kelsey said that the new mutual aid agreement would have no monetary clause, only replacement of supplies. If the Town of Highland comes on scene, it would release the Town of Barnes Fire Department if the incident were under control at that time.
Kesler said that the Town of Highland can do mutual aid for fires because it has its own fire department, but that it does not have its own ambulance, so it needs to rely on other services for its ambulance service for its residents.
Bud Pease asked what happened to the old fire department contract? It was stated that the contract expired and that the mutual aid agreement took effect and that the services were now shared, not paid. Pease asked why the Town of Barnes should not be compensated, as they are spending the money by using their equipment and personnel? The Town of Barnes can get there sooner and can have most of the work done before Highland can respond. There was a discussion on forest fires and how each department works together in that situation. It would be the same for mutual aid for a town fire. There was a question on how many fires in the Town of Highland were handled by the Town of Barnes? It was stated that in some years there are only 2 or 3. In some years there are more, but that there were not that many calls.
Dick Smith asked if there was an expiration date on the contract? The contract would not be etched in stone. The price was discussed.
Kelsey asked how would the Town of Highland get the process started? He needed to know that all of the residents would be protected. Webb said that they need to know who is going to respond. It needs to be brought to the people. Kesler said to send a letter stating the resolution. Vi Friermood said they could use the one the Town of Barnes has with the Town of Drummond as an example. If all were in agreement, then it would be done.
There was a question on what to do in the next few weeks until an agreement is signed. The people should continue to call 911, with the dispatch going to Gold Gross. In the next couple of weeks there will be dual dispatches until the agreement is done. Jan Victorson from Emergency Government said that the towns should continue to work in the present system already in place-dialing the 795-2300 number and the 911 systems-until all is worked out. Dick Collyard said he would get hold of the state and do the maps so it would be official
Chris Webb asked how the billing would be done for the joint dispatch. Advantage Billing, the same one that does the billing for the Town of Barnes, would do the billing if Barnes were dispatched. Gold Cross would do the billing on any intercept calls and they would send the money back to the Town of Barnes for the expenses incurred by the Barnes Ambulance.
Motion (Webb / Chermack) to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried. Steve Kelsey thanked all for coming. The meeting was adjourned at 7:15PM.
Members of the Barnes Town Board in attendance: Chairman Dick Smith; Supervisors Larry Peterson, Chris Webb, Dixie Chermack and Jack Meinke and the clerk Lu Peet. Other residents from Barnes in attendance were Gene Ratzel, Walter (Bud) Pease, Viola Friermood and Dick Collyard.
Members of the Town of Highland in attendance: Chairman Steve Kelsey, Janice Johnson, Rose Graves, Scott Khalar, Clerk Sue Skoglund, Fire Chief Allen Carroll and Dick Falconer.
Jan Victorson and Keith Kesler from Emergency Government were also in attendance.
There may have been others in attendance not signed in or noted.
Lucille J. Peet
Barnes Town Clerk
Dated this 28th day of January 2003