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County will ask Idaho Power for donation

Weiser Signal American of Weiser, Idaho

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Commissioners look at ways to raise money for ambulance district

Washington County Commissioners plan to ask Idaho Power Company for a donation to assist in the expense of running the ambulance service.

Commissioners met last week with Michael Ybarguen, community relations manager for Idaho Power. Ybarguen said the request should be made in the form of a letter and include an explanation of why the money is needed and what it will be used for.

Idaho Power has a philosophy of spreading the wealth from senior centers to volunteer fire departments. The county's request for donations would go to a corporate board in Boise, along with the other requests Idaho Power receives, for review, Ybarguen said.

"We'll work very hard at doing something," he said.

During an ambulance district meeting on Monday, commissioners revisited the issue and agreed that the county would ask for $5,000 from Idaho Power, although any amount would be welcome.

Commissioners pointed out that the Weiser Ambulance District operates the only advanced lifesaving service in the county Making those services available to Idaho Power which owns and operates recreational facilities within the county, costs money.

After three failed attempts in recent years to pass an increase in the district's tax levy, commissioners are exploring various ways to raise more money for the ambulance district.

The current revenue from the ambulance district tax levy and ambulance fees cover the payroll and the day-to-day cost of running the service, but there are not substantial sums to set aside for major capital expenditures, like buying a new ambulance if one of the three existing ambulances goes down, commissioners said.

Two of the Weiser district ambulances are 12 and 16 years old. Replacing an ambulance is a pricey proposition, officials said.

Also recently, county commissioners met with representatives from Zions Bank about the feasibility of putting a bond measure before voters sometime in the future.

While the tax levy has failed more than once at the ballot box, a bond measure for a specified amount might be more attractive to voters. No decision has been made yet on a bond.

Cambridge and Midvale have basic ambulance services, but Weiser has advanced life saving or ALS. When ALS services are needed in the northern half of the county, Weiser responds. Typically,

Weiser's ambulance meets the Cambridge and Midvale ambulances half way and a patient transfer is made.

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Original Publication Date: March 25, 2015

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