RIVER FALLS -- River Falls EMS’s budget deficit challenges will be the topic of a discussion between the EMS advisory board and city staff scheduled for 6:40 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7.
River Falls EMS Director Jason Stroud said the increases in expenses and lack of revenue from the EMS fee-for-service programs are creating a setback for future sustainability.
The current and projected financial status of the department will be discussed at the Oct. 7 meeting, along with the possibility of searching for other non-governmental, long-term service delivery providers.
“City staff has been working for some time to examine the feasibility of continued sustainment of our service and to better understand the impacts of various service delivery considerations,” Stroud said.
Annual operating expenses hover around $1.9 million, while annual fee-for-service revenue comes in at about $1.2 million, resulting in a $700,000 deficit, according to River Falls EMS.
Since 2015, the department has seen a 57% increase in expenses. There is a 2-to-2.5% projected increase in expenses each year paired with a projected 0-to-1% increase in revenue.
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During the most recent EMS advisory board meeting on Aug. 5, Stroud presented a mid-year financial update in which he said supplemental sources of revenue or funding were needed to maintain the department’s current operations.
Board members discussed potential cost-effective changes, including considering transitioning from a 24-hour shift to a 12-hour shift and having city of River Falls residents pay per capita, similar to township residents.
“To realistically sustain the service for the next few years, per capita rates will have to be increased and approximately $165,000 will need to be subsidized each year for 2021-2024. It is very likely that the required subsidy amount will continue to increase an additional $20,000-$30,000 annually in following years,” Stroud wrote in a July 30 feasibility assessment to River Falls City Administrator Scot Simpson.
The Oct. 7 meeting will he held in the Training Room at River Falls City Hall.