EVANSDALE, Iowa --- City officials plan to stop providing ambulance service to residents in Poyner Township next month.
Evansdale Fire Chief Kent Smock has sent a letter to the township trustees stating the city would no longer provide emergency medical services to the rural township effective Oct. 1. The decision, made in consultation with city administration, came after township trustees declined to pay for services the city was providing to them.
"Any deficit between what we are compensated for and our billed costs are then borne by the citizens of Evansdale through their property taxes," Smock said in the letter. "I regret that we must end our relationship serving the citizens of Poyner Township, however, in fairness to the taxpayers of Evansdale, we cannot justify Evansdale tax dollars being used to support your township at no cost to your citizens."
Smock said he would be willing to negotiate a contract with Poyner Township, or the trustees could look for another agency to provide the service.
Attempts to reach any of the three Poyner Township trustees were unsuccessful.
Evansdale officials said they have been providing emergency medical service to Poyner Township since the early 1970s without a formal agreement because it billed patients to recover costs. But changes in the economy, medical bills, insurance and Medicaid reimbursements have led to a deficit in the operation.
Smock's letter indicated both Raymond and Gilbertville pay $25 per call when Evansdale sends an ambulance to those towns, which is the same amount he asked Poyner Township to pay.
Poyner had 47 calls for service in the last fiscal year, which would have amounted to $1,175 under the proposal. Evansdale is still attempting to collect some $6,000 from patients for ambulance service related to those calls based on information provided by Evansdale Fire Rescue.
Some rural areas outside city limits have contracts for emergency fire and medical response.
Elk Run Heights, Cedar Knoll and East Waterloo Township, for example, pay the city of Waterloo a flat annual fee to provide fire and EMS response. The city also has mutual aid agreements with other communities, which bills those agencies $150 when an ambulance or fire truck is called to assist.
"I've told other agencies who ask that we're not looking to take on more territory or more calls," Treloar said. "We're busy enough in Waterloo. But Waterloo will always go when we're called and we'll work it out afterwards."