Ambulance Department to see new leadership with management plan

City Council
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

Some changes are coming to the City of Monticello’s Ambulance Department. 

The Monticello City Council approved some new leaderships roles and responsibilities during the Jan. 20 council meeting, which are all part of a new Ambulance Management Plan. 

At the helm will be Police Chief Britt Smith providing oversight and management of the Ambulance Department. 

“It is my intent to maintain and operate an efficient service as cost effectively as possible,” Smith said. 

With current part-time Ambulance Director Dawn Brus stepping down some time in February, long-time paramedic Lori Lynch will be promoted to “Lead Paramedic.” Lynch will take on the day-to-day responsibilities associated with the department. 

Lynch, who’s been with the department since October 2007, will remain a paramedic with the department as well. 

City Administrator Doug Herman noted that after a committee of city officials and ambulance department personnel met, this option seemed to be the best course of action to help the Ambulance Department bring in more revenue to meet its expenses. 

“The Ambulance Department operations have been struggling,” he said. “We need to find ways to improve the revenue streams, which is the prime driver.” 

One way to bring more funding into the department is for city council members and Chief Smith to meet with township trustees. Smith said he’s already met with Castle Grove, and indicated they seem receptive toward the request for increased funding. 

“I anticipate greater participation from the townships,” Smith said. “They like our proposed structure (of the department) and are comfortable with how our operations will run.” 

In promoting Lynch to a higher position and more responsibilities, Herman also suggested a pay increase as well from $22.75 an hour to $23.75. 

“I think this will work really well,” said Lynch. “I have a decent working relationship with Britt. It’ll be a bumpy ride at first until we get our feet wet.” 

Herman noted that Brus gave her blessing in promoting Lynch, that she was best suited to fill the leadership role. 

Mayor Brian Wolken asked how this format for the Ambulance Department and Police Department could impact the future of both should new leadership be needed. (For example, should Chief Smith seek new employment.) 

“Long-term, I think it’s too premature to say this could last five years,” said Smith. “We’ll evaluate additional options when we need to.” 

Council member Dave Goedken said if things don’t improve, it’ll only get worse. He said Monticello needs to put pressure on the state legislature to adequately fund rural ambulance services. 

“It’ll take a bigger fix beyond what we can do locally,” said Herman. “And we’re not alone in this. Rural ambulance services are struggling to maintain their revenue streams to meet their needs.”

In other city business: 

• The council approved three plots of survey for Gary Wernimonet near Timber Road and 230th Street, for Dean Stevens’ condo units on S. Main Street, and for Koob Wrecker & Crane and Aaron’s Automotive on 11th Street. 

• Herman reported that the Monticello Chamber of Commerce has passed the downtown banner project on to the Hometown Pride/Main Street Iowa committee. Along with the project comes $3,500 from the chamber’s banner fund. 

The goal is to get new banners designed, purchased and installed on light poles throughout the business district before several summer events take place. 

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