If a person falls off of a couch and can’t get back up, the natural inclination is to call 9-1-1. An ambulance isn’t needed, but the person making the call needs a helping hand.
In Chippewa Falls, EMS units have helped on those calls at no charge, no matter how many times they have happened.
That could change. Mayor Greg Hoffman said the city is considering a $75 charge with the fifth such call to a residence.
“There’s a tremendous amount of expense,” for these kinds of calls, Hoffman said. City taxpayers are picking up what Hoffman terms as a fairly substantial cost.
“Sixty-five percent of our patients (use) Medicare or Medicaid,” Hoffman said. And that makes a difference on whether the $75 charge will be paid.
“So regardless of what is charged, Medicare only reimburses a flat rate,” the minutes of the city’s Revenues Committee meeting from Wednesday said.
Hoffman said the Revenues Committee recommended raising non-resident EMS fees. He said the increase in fees are needed, because now when city EMS is called to emergencies in the towns of Tilden, Eagle Point, Anson and the village of Cadott, a paramedic responds with the city EMS crew.
In other action, security cameras for City Hall and the Chippewa Falls Public Library were approved by the committee. Hoffman said the cameras will cost about $25,000. The city partnered with Chippewa County to get a better rate on the cameras.
Hoffman said the city will also be taking bids for roof repairs for the library building. An insurance company the city uses will pay up to $26,000 for the roof repair. The balance will come from city funds from the sale of the former city fire station No. 2 on Park Avenue.
“The insurance company will not cover any additional damages that may occur from now until the roof is repaired,” the committee minutes said.
Hoffman said next year, the project will be placed in the bond (a long-term loan) and the city will get back what it paid toward fixing the roof.
The city’s Building Committee, which also met Tuesday, said the city may qualify for what’s declared as an emergency situation. It it gets that status, the city could go ahead with the project without bids.
Hoffman said the city is within $35,000 of reaching $2 million in donations for Phase 2 of the development of Chippewa Riverfront Park. The project’s cost is $2.4 million.
The committee also declined an offer to buy city-owned land on Chippewa Crossing Boulevard.
Tuesday night’s City Council meeting included an update by Ryan Companies on the construction of the Mills Fleet Farm Distribution Center in the Lake Wissota Business Park. All of the structure’s exterior walls are up, said Brock Norman of Ryan Companies.
He said roofing of the distribution center started this week. “The entire employee parking lot is now paved,” he said.
“We’re probably two to three weeks ahead of schedule,” he said. “We are blessed with a great site.”
FleetFarm will come into the building and install equipment this fall, and they will receive products in January, Norman said.
Funding for sanitary and water infrastructure from Lake View Drive to County S was approved on a 7-0 vote by the council. Hoffman said the city’s Wastewater Department will front the cost, about $400,000. The department will be reimbursed by one of the city’s Tax Increment Financing Districts.
The council also approved a beer and wine license along with a dance license for the upcoming Northwoods Blues Festival June 30 and July 1 at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls.
It also approved the same licenses for the Leinenkugel 150th Anniversary Celebration from Aug. 10-12 at the fairgrounds.
All seven council members attended Tuesday night’s session.