By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON MOUNTAIN - A new ambulance service has come to town.
Andy Hay of Integrated First Response (IFR) spoke to the Dickinson County Board of Commissioners about the service during the board's Monday meeting.
Hay noted that IFR has been operating an air ambulance from Ford Airport in Kingsford since October. About six months ago, plans for a ground ambulance service began to take shape, he added.
IFR took ownership of the building at 719 River Avenue in Iron Mountain, and workers have spent the last month remodeling it into an ambulance garage, living quarters for first responders, and training center.
Hay said that the ambulance service officially went active Sunday night.
"We've already had three runs since then," he pointed out.
IFR's facility has five ambulances ready now, but space for seven. There are currently 27 employees.
Hay emphasized that the employees are from the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin and that local contractors worked on the new facility.
"We will be here for a long time," he said. "We've invested our money, we're here to stay."
Pat Siegle, who will run the facility, added that he has been in contact with the sheriff's department and 911 dispatch about coverage area.
"With two (ambulance) services here, we're not here to fight with them," he said.
Beacon Ambulance Service in Kingsford has been operating for a number of years in the area.
"We're here to work together, we're here for patient care," said Siegle.
Hay said that there will be an open house at the new facility on Saturday, Aug. 24 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
In other business, the board:
- Approved the county's plan for deficit elimination for fiscal year 2012. Only three funds had deficits last year: the public improvement fund had a deficit of $55,634, the enhanced 911 fund had a deficit of $38,614, and the law library had a deficit of $11,277.
County Controller Nicole Frost explained that the airport public improvement deficit will be covered through an ongoing annual appropriation of $20,000 from another airport fund, the 911 deficit will be covered by the new 911 millage money, and the law library deficit will be covered by an appropriation from the county's general fund.
- Approved the county's new purchasing policy. The policy establishes how department heads should go about purchasing items, depending on price. For example, purchases under $500 can be made at the discretion of department heads, but purchases over $2,000 require the approval of the county board.
- Approved the purchase of 911 console position equipment from Xybix at a cost of $50,284.
- Bought an advertisement in the Advertiser's special Dickinson County Fair section at a cost of $204.75.
- Purchased an interpretive sign for the courthouse through the Iron Mountain Main Street program's historical sign program. Commissioner Barb Kramer said that the $100 interior sign will describe the courthouse building.
- Approved the Northern Lights YMCA's request to hold a fund-raising dinner at Superior Aviation's hangar at the Ford Airport. The approval is contingent upon the execution of an indemnification agreement, proof of insurance, and a liquor license, if applicable. The dinner will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m.
- Allowed the sheriff to dispose of two old squad cars and give a third car to the probate court.
- Heard from Kramer that seven out of seven counties in the southern Upper Peninsula have supported her resolution in favor of a southern bike path route through the Upper Peninsula instead of the previously proposed northern route. Kramer said that her next steps will be to talk with Native American tribes and Governor Rick Snyder, who is in the Upper Peninsula this week.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is email@example.com.