Battle Brewing Over Ambulance Service

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, February 7 2013 at 3:54 PM, Updated: Thu, February 7 2013 at 4:06 PM

The owner of a private ambulance service says he has the answer to Klamath County Fire District #1's budget woes...but as NBC2's Lyle Ahrens reports, the district isn't ready to stop transporting patients...

Ed Langerveld of 'Emergency Airlift' says it's time for private ambulance service in Klamath County...

"Well, because of the obvious self-admitted financial woes of the fire district."

Fire District #1 declared they were in a 'fiscal emergency' at a meeting last Saturday...but Fire District Operations Chief John Spradley says getting out of the ambulance business could create even bigger problems...

"We'd stand to lose approximately 1.3 to a million and a half in revenue annually, and that would equate to firefighters that we'd no longer be able to employ - upwards of about 12 positions."

Langerveld stresses that his company relies on user fees rather than taxpayer dollars...and he claims that he can save the district money...

"If they choose to shed what's causing them the financial deficit, which is the ground ambulance."

Spradley notes that there's also a legal contract involved...

"Currently, Fire District #1 has the ASA (Ambulance Service Area) contract with Klamath County through June 30th of 2016.  And we are prepared to provide that service through that time frame."

Fire District #1 must also trim 300 thousand dollars from their budget between now and the end of June.


About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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