by Becky Holloway
Tipton Times

An order for two new ambulances approved by the Mid-Mo Ambulance District Board of Directors last week will not arrive for at least 80 weeks due to a backlog attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blake Clifton of American Response Vehicles of Columbia, provided quotes on two vehicles as requested by ambulance district administrator Lee Kempf. Those were reviewed by the board during its meeting Wednesday, Aug. 17 in Tipton.
Clifton quoted two 2023 AEV Traumahauk Type I custom ambulances, one a Ford F450 4×4 gasoline and the other a Ford F350 4×4 diesel. Kempf asked Clifton to also quote a 450 diesel engine, which he estimated to be about $14,000 more than his original quote. Both come with AEV, Ford and ARV discounts, and match vehicles already in the district’s fleet.
The board voted to approve up to $338,920 for the purchase of a F450 4×4 diesel ambulance and approved the bid for an F350 4×4 diesel at $311,358.
Kempf proposes running the larger ambulances during the winter months and the smaller the other eight months of the year.
During discussion, it was noted that another of the district’s ambulances is scheduled to be remounted as soon as a new chassis is secured and, in two year’s time, four ambulances in the fleet will have in excess of 200,000 miles on them.
The board also approved the cost to replace the repeater tower at Ivy Bend, estimated at $16,496 by Command 1, LLC of Centertown. The 100-foot tower there was damaged by a storm last month. Kempf said all the radios on the tower are fine. The cost includes removing the old tower and installing the new tower. Part of the cost may be reimbursed by insurance and will be submitted.
In other business, the board set the property tax levy at $0. A public hearing was prior to the meeting with no citizen input.
Jim Towles, an emergency medical technician for the district who also performs the district’s maintenance needs, addressed the board concerning returning to work following shoulder surgery. He asked to be allowed to come back to his maintenance duties with the restriction of no use of his left arm. However, the board saw concerns with that and agreed he should wait until he has a doctor’s release to return with possible weight restrictions.
July run statistics were reviewed. Kempf said he thought there were only two days out of 31 the district did not go to “status 0,” and expressed appreciation for the help of Cole County EMS in response when needed. While the need for another ambulance on the schedule is real, Kempf said the lack of adequate staffing for a fifth base remains an issue.
Districtwide, the service saw a record number of calls last month at 437. There were 280 transports for a transport rate of 76.9 percent on patient contact calls. Tipton had 84 calls and 53 transports, California 106 calls and 72 transports, and Versailles ran 247 calls with 155 transports.
The volume of transports was reflected in the billing, with the treasurer’s report showing a record of $223,198.50 billed for July. Bills presented for payment also reflected how busy the ambulances were with fuel costing $12,315 last month.
The board’s next meeting is scheduled 7 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 14, at the district office in Tipton.