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Sturgis Council okays moving ambulance deadline to after hopeful March vote

STURGIS, S.D. – The Rural Sturgis Ambulance Group reached their goal and on Monday night, turned in the remaining $20,000 to cover ambulance service to the rural areas until a vote can be held in March.

The city of Sturgis had already received a $10,000 payment from the group.

The city earlier this year set a November 18 deadline to raise $30,000 to help cover the cost of ambulance service to the rural areas. City residents help pay for the city-owned service in their property taxes, but because the rural residents are outside city limits, the city was asking them to find a way to help finance the ambulance or lose it. In doing so, they gave them until the end of the year to come up with a plan.

Group spokesman Ross Lamphere says they are now circulating petitions to set up a March vote for rural residents to decide on whether or not to establish an ambulance district.

At Monday night’s meeting he said they are halfway to their goal of getting enough signatures to make a December deadline to set up a March 23rd, 2020 vote.

If the rural voters approve forming an ambulance district, those residents could contract with the Sturgis Ambulance, another ambulance service or start their own.

Alderman Terry Keszler made the motion that the city work with the group, and moved the end of the year deadline to shut off ambulance service to the rural areas to April 7. He says that will give the city and the group time after the election to come up a with a plan.

“I’d like to move it out to April 7 and the reason why is because that gives us a council meeting after the vote is held to see if we need to do anything further.”

Keszler’s motion was approved unanimously and the council also requested the group could end their fundraising effort and concentrate on the petition drive. Keszler, in his motion, said no other money is needed from the group at this time.

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