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Ambulance need discussed by Mingo Council

MATTERS OF DISCUSSION — Mingo Junction Village Council met Tuesday night, and among the topics was ambulance concerns. -- Andrew Grimm

MINGO JUNCTION — One ambulance will not be enough to handle the call volume Mingo Junction has been receiving.

That was the message to council from village Fire Chief Brandon Montgomery during Tuesday’s meeting as he presented council with the current options for getting back to two operational ambulances.

Presently, the village has one new ambulance and a second, older, ambulance that is in need of repairs. The village is borrowing an ambulance from a nearby department to have two — the second ambulance it has borrowed since its broke, but will only be able to do so until November or early December at the latest.

Montgomery said the call volume the village experiences has gone up significantly this year, between 200 to 300 calls more than at this time last year.

He presented council with options, including purchasing a new “demo” ambulance or ordering a custom ambulance, both of which would exceed remaining funds from a levy to raise funds for the purchases.

It was noted the cost of ambulances and needed equipment has increased considerably due to demand during the pandemic.

There is also an 18-month wait period for a new ambulance to be constructed.

Citing concerns over the cost of a demo ambulance or a new one, Councilman Adam Peeler suggested exploring a different style of ambulance, such as one built on a van platform instead of a truck base.

“We have to be good stewards of the citizens’ money,” he said.

Though less expensive, there is also a lengthy wait time for a van ambulance.

In the meantime, council instructed for the out-of-service ambulance to be sent away to determine how much it will cost to make it operational again in the short term.

Montgomery also informed council that the department is going to need to purchase more personal protective equipment, as the supply of what was ordered from the CARES Act funding is beginning to run out and the number of cases of COVID-19 in the village and across the county continue to rise once again.

He said the department currently has a firefighter off with the virus and estimated that three of every five calls the department gets involve a positive case.

The department, he said, has gone back to not allowing visitors in the station.

He also said the department is “hitting property maintenance hard.”

“I’d like to really get this village cleaned up,” Montgomery said.

He did share some positive news with council, noting that the village’s estimated billing revenue from the fire department is on track to be higher than anticipated.

Also noteworthy:

– Council passed a resolution recognizing the band U.S. Kids, some of the members of whom are from the village, for 38 years of performing. The band members decided to retire earlier this year.

– Jeff Schuetz appeared before council to discuss plans for a “Halloween in Mingo” event to be held on Oct. 31 at Aracoma Park in a collaboration among Schuetz Funeral Home and the police and fire departments.

Plans are for the entertainment, food and beverages, face painting, a haunted house and fireworks at dusk.

Volunteers and donations are needed. For information, call (740) 317-7282.

Schuetz was commended by Councilman Mark Baker for putting on the village’s concert series this summer.

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