U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopens comment period on proposal to list West Coast Fisher populations

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has reopened the comment period on a proposal to list the West Coast population of fisher as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service has also extended its deadline to make a final decision whether to list the species to April 7, 2016.

The Service is opening a 30-day public comment period to solicit additional information to more fully inform the final listing decision. Specifically, the agency is seeking additional information on threats to the fisher population.

The fisher is a large, stocky, dark brown member of the weasel family, and is related to the mink, otter and marten. About the size of a house cat, the fisher has a long bushy tail, short rounded ears, short legs, and a low-to-the-ground appearance.

During the reopened comment period, the Service seeks information related to toxicants and rodenticides used at marijuana grow sites, including law enforcement information on the scope and severity of this problem, and trend data related to the use of toxicants/rodenticides. Previously submitted comments are in the record and they do not need to be resubmitted.

The Service is also seeking additional information for West Coast fisher population surveys, which will help assess fisher distribution and population trends. The Service is particularly interested in the surveys in which no fishers were found.

Additional guidance on submitting public comments can be found in the Federal Register notice at https://www.federalregister.gov (search for key word “fisher”), or on the agency website at: http://www.fws.gov/cno/es/fisher/.

Comments and information can be submitted by one of the following methods:

• Electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R8–ES–2014–0041.  You may submit information by clicking on “Comment Now.”

• Paper copy, via the U.S. mail or hand delivery, to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2014–0041. Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/cno. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, and download photos from our Flickr page.

Eight days of morning razor clam digs approved, starting April 17 on Long Beach, Twin Harbors, and Mocrocks

Razor clam diggers can return to coastal beaches starting Friday, April 17, state shellfish managers announced today.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the digs after marine toxin tests showed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat. All of the digs are scheduled on morning tides. No digging will be allowed on any beach after noon.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, noted that the upcoming dig coincides with the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, scheduled April 18-19 in Long Beach. Festival events range from free clam-digging lessons to a fritter cook-off. More information is available at http://longbeachrazorclamfestival.com/

Under state law, diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

The upcoming dig is scheduled on the following dates, beaches, and low tides:

  • April 17, Friday, 6:03 a.m.; -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks 
  • April 18, Saturday, 6:52 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis 
  • April 19, Sunday, 7:39 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis 
  • April 20, Monday, 8:25 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors 
  • April 21, Tuesday, 9:11 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors 
  • April 22, Wednesday, 9:57 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors 
  • April 23, Thursday, 10:46 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors 
  • April 24, Friday, 11:38 a.m.; 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors

WDFW has also proposed additional digs in May, pending the results of future marine toxin tests. Tentative dates for those digs are posted on the department’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

Beaches in Washington with razor clam fisheries include: Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point. Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor. Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas. Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips. Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park. (This beach is closed to harvest until further notice)
Beaches in Washington with razor clam fisheries include:
Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park. (This beach is closed to harvest until further notice)

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2015-16 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

During all upcoming digs, state wildlife managers urge clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula, and on a section of Twin Harbors beach.

The snowy plover is a small bird with gray wings and a white breast. The lark is a small bird with a pale yellow breast and brown back. Male larks have a black mask, breast band and “horns.”

To protect these birds, the department asks that clam diggers avoid the dunes and areas of the beach with soft, dry sand. When driving to a clam-digging area, diggers should enter the beach only at designated access points and stay on the hard-packed sand near or below the high tide line.

Wildlife Commission lists tufted puffins as state endangered species

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted new big game hunting rules for the upcoming season and an interim policy for Willapa Bay salmon fisheries during a public meeting April 9-10 in Tumwater.

The commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also agreed to place tufted puffins on the state’s endangered species list and remove Steller sea lions from the state’s threatened list.

New hunting rules approved by the commission will expand hunting opportunities for virtually every big game species and gear type. New regulations will:

  • Add two more days to the modern firearm season for mule deer.
  • Shift archery elk season to start the Saturday after Labor Day to provide better opportunity for hunters in cooler weather.
  • Double the amount of spring bear permits available in northeast Washington.
  • Allow elk hunters using muzzleloaders to hunt in more game management units (GMUs).
  • Increase moose permits to 170 from 136 in the northeast part of the state, where moose populations are near an all-time high.

 

The commission did not adopt a proposal to restrict the use of bait when hunting for deer and elk. Instead, the commission directed WDFW to work with stakeholders to bring forward new options for consideration next year.

 

All of the hunting rules approved by the commission will be included in the 2015 Big Game Hunting pamphlet, which will be available later this spring on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/, in sporting goods stores, and at other license vendors throughout the state.

Tufted Puffin colony occupancyIn other business, the commission added tufted puffins to the state’s endangered species list to provide them with additional protection. Tufted puffins are native seabirds once considered common in parts of Washington. In recent decades, however, the population has significantly declined. WDFW will develop a plan outlining actions necessary for the species’ recovery in the state.

Steller sea lions, on the other hand, have rebounded in recent years, prompting the commission to remove the species from the state’s list of threatened species. The federal government has also delisted Steller sea lions. The species will remain as state protected wildlife and will still receive protection under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

After receiving a briefing from state fishery managers on a long-term salmon-management policy for Willapa Bay, the commission adopted an interim plan that will be in effect through 2015. The interim policy is designed to accelerate the recovery of natural-origin chinook salmon by reducing the incidental catch of wild fish while encouraging the harvest of hatchery chinook.

 

WDFW will work with stakeholders in the coming weeks to designate the 2015 salmon fishing dates in Willapa Bay, based on the new interim plan. The interim plan is posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/willapa_bay_salmon/.

The commission also took public comments on a proposal to reopen recreational fishing for flounder, sole and other flatfish – except halibut – in Quilcene Bay and the northern portion of Dabob Bay in Hood Canal. A separate public hearing was held on management of Columbia River sturgeon.

In other news, April’s meeting was attended by fishing columnist Dave Graybill and retired public health physician Kim Thorburn, who were appointed to the commission by the governor last month.

Swinomish Tribe says “No More Oil Trains on Our Land”

A Native American tribe says too many trains, some of which carry volatile Bakken crude, are crossing its reservation and it’s suing the rail company to stop them.

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community alleges BNSF Railway is violating an easement agreement made in 1991. The agreement set limits on the numbers and lengths of trains to cross this part of the Puget Sound area, and requires the rail company to inform the Tribe about the types of cargo.

Tribal chairman Brian Cladoosby says getting oil to a coastal refinery seems to have taken precedence over the original deal.

“The last letter we received from them indicated they weren’t going to abide by our agreement, and that they had to provide this [crude] to the Tesoro refinery,” says Cladoosby. “So, they basically indicated they were going to keep doing what they’re doing.”

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle asks that BNSF stick to the original agreement: one train per day in each direction across the reservation, of no more than 25 cars in length, with the added specification of no Bakken crude on those trains.

Cladoosby says oil trains of more than 100 cars began crossing the reservation in 2012, and the Tribe has been asking about them since then. He says spills or worse aren’t risks the Tribe is willing to take.

“The trains run in real close proximity to our economic development area,” Cladoosby says. “Where we have our casino, our hotel, our bingo hall, our gas station, our RV park, our sewer treatment plant. So, it’s pretty close proximity.”

In a report last month, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission cited 14 instances in which hazardous materials leaked from BNSF rail cars in a recent four-month period, and the commission claims not all were reported promptly.

BNSF said it found inaccuracies in “more than 90 percent of those allegations.” The company has ordered 5,000 new and updated oil tank cars.

Members of the Swinomish Tribe, seen here at a tribal ceremony, are concerned that long trains of oil tank cars are crossing their reservation every week, a development the Tribe says violates its 1991 easement agreement with a rail company. Photo credit: Leslie Dierauf/U.S. Geological Survey.
Members of the Swinomish Tribe, seen here at a tribal ceremony, are concerned that long trains of oil tank cars are crossing their reservation every week, a development the Tribe says violates its 1991 easement agreement with a rail company. Photo credit: Leslie Dierauf/U.S. Geological Survey.

Advocates and campers working to cleanup site near downtown Aberdeen

Cleanup continues near the Chehalis River Bridge where several campsites along the river have been getting attention. Sources tell us the City of Aberdeen hauled out more than 20,000 pounds of trash last week. Campers and volunteers were using rakes to pile the trash Monday when we spoke to Natasha. “Although it is a problem, 60 to %70 of it is not the campers, it’s the trucks coming in at 2, 3, and 4 in the morning.” The former postal worker from Pacific Beach has been the unofficial campground host for about 8 months now, she said there’s really not an easy solution for folks that live there “It’s such a wide range of people down here for a wide range of reasons that everybody’s needs, and what’s going to help everybody, is going to be different from person to person.”

To the left is a campsite recently cleaned by Tasha, to the right is the pile of garbage they removed.
To the left is a campsite recently cleaned by Tasha, to the right is the pile of garbage they removed.

Tasha was 10 years into buying her own home, when – as she puts it “life happened and then the next thing you know I’m here.” Now she lives in the big blue tent that’s visible from the Chehalis River Bridge, it has a fireplace and space for guests. She said she spends a lot of her time helping others find food, clothing, or shelter. “And I mean I have plans not to be down here in the long run, but I also have plans to stay down here until everything’s fine.”

The city’s code enforcement officer handed out eviction notices giving the campers until March 31st to move out, that deadline was extended to April 13th after Mayor Bill Simpson spoke with land owners involved.

This area has one of only a few gravel beaches along the Chehalis, with tides bringing the water level almost to the campfire.
This area has one of only a few gravel beaches along the Chehalis, high tides bring the water level almost to the campfire.

Other advocates are working behind the scenes to procure property and come up with a more permanent solution, however Aberdeen’s city ordinance still prohibits camping on private property – with or without the owner’s permission, an issue that has been addressed elsewhere at the city council level.

During our interview, Tasha explained why so many are choosing not to use other resources like the Union Gospel Mission. She also talks about life along the river before getting the recent attention, and what they are hoping for afterward.

Triple play on the way as final pontoons for new SR 520 bridge leave Aberdeen

As baseball fans cheer the start of a new season, the Washington State Department of Transportation is celebrating a major milestone for the new State Route 520 floating bridge. The final three pontoons built for the bridge are in the process of leaving Grays Harbor today and should arrive in Seattle as soon as Thursday, April 9, 2015.

The football-field-size structures will then move through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard on their way to Lake Washington. There, they’ll join the 74 previously constructed pontoons that together will support the world’s longest floating bridge. The Locks are a popular location to see the pontoons, as are other viewpoints in the Seattle area.

A pontoon photo contest on Twitter is now underway, offering creative shutterbugs the chance to win a tour of the new floating bridge as it’s built on Lake Washington. Five winners will be selected for the best pontoon photos, as judged by Jon Marmor, editor of the University of Washington’s Columns Magazine. Past photos of SR 520 pontoons will be accepted, as will new photos. Submissions will be accepted through 12 p.m. Monday, April 13, 2015.

“This contest is a fun way to acknowledge the four years of hard work that went into building the 77 bridge pontoons,” said Dave Becher, WSDOT engineering manager with the SR 520 Floating Bridge and Landings Project. “The new bridge will serve as a vital connection for communities on both sides of the lake for decades to come, and this photo contest will help us commemorate this great milestone.”

WSDOT contractors built pontoons for the new SR 520 floating bridge in Aberdeen and Tacoma. Of the 33 constructed in Grays Harbor County, 21, including the final three, are the massive longitudinal pontoons – 360 feet long, three stories high, and 11,000 tons. They form the backbone of the new bridge.

Contractor crews on the lake continue to bolt together and anchor pontoons in their final position. The new bridge, with six lanes, a shoulder for disabled vehicles, and a bicycle/pedestrian path, is designed to resist stronger windstorms than the current bridge. The new bridge is scheduled to open in spring 2016.

For information on road closures associated with SR 520 construction, visit the SR 520 Orange Page and follow us on Twitter.

Pacific County Emergency Management Agency offering CERT training

The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency (PCEMA) is offering a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course in Long Beach.

The course will be held at the Lighthouse Oceanfront Resort (12415 Pacific Way, Long Beach). Pre-registration is required and is limited to 20 participants.

Training is scheduled as follows:

Saturday May 2, 2015 · 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 3 2015 · 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 9, 2015 · 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The CERT program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors, and your neighborhood in an emergency situation. CERT members receive 20 hours of initial training provided free of charge. The course is taught with classroom instruction for the first two days and practical exercises during the last day. Participants under the age of 18 must have parent/guardian permission to attend.

To register or for more information, contact Scott McDougall at (360) 642-9338 or email smcdougall@co.pacific.wa.us.

Veterans Day Ceremony and Fundraiser at Aberdeen VFW

“Come join us in a Veteran’s Day Ceremony to honor the Veterans of the U.S. military,” says Aberdeen Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post #224, Commander Jim Daly.  “The Aberdeen Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #224 will be hosting a ceremony to honor veterans at 11:00, on November 11th at the post home, 105 E. Heron, Aberdeen.”

“We honor and serve veterans, and offer this short ceremony for the public to share.  At the conclusion of the approximately 20 minute ceremony, we will begin serving burger or hot dog baskets with and fries and a pop, as a fund raiser to help pay for the over $300,000 in building repairs completed this year.”

The Fundraising Event, Tuesday, Veteran’s Day, November 11, from Noon – 6 pm.  We welcome the public to join us for food and information.  We will have people there to answer your questions about membership.

“Please come support our local Veterans.  There will hamburgers, fries, and pop, for $8 or substitute a hotdog and it will be $7.” said Nell Todd, Auxiliary President.  “We will also hold a 50/50 raffle.”

Commander Daly said:  “This will also be an opportunity to renew your membership or to join at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, if you are qualified.  Our Service Officer, Commander, and other members will be present for much of the day to speak with Veterans about benefits and the benefit of joining the VFW.  To become a member of the VFW a veteran must have been in a direct support role of combat operations of the U.S. military.

The Auxiliary President, Nell Todd and many of her members will also be present to speak with ladies who are qualified, about membership as well.  To become a member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, a lady must have an immediate family member (father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, daughter, or son) qualified to be a VFW member.

“The Post and Auxiliary are back in full swing.  We host Bingo at the post on Wednesday’s, with doors opening at 4:00pm.  We serve Burgers and chicken baskets on Wednesday’s.   We also serve full dinner menus on

Thursday and Friday from 4:30 – 7:00pm, and breakfast Saturday and Sunday from 8:30am – 1:00pm.  And our lounge is fully operational for members;” said Terry Holderman, Post Quartermaster.

If you would like to support the Aberdeen VFW for their building repairs, donations may also be made to the special donation account at Anchor Bank or dropped off or mailed to VFW Post 224, 105 East Heron, Aberdeen, WA 98520.

 

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Our veterans and service members sacrifice so greatly and ask for little in return. Today you can honor and help them by making a generous donation to the VFW. Our programs support our troops while they are on the front line, as they are being discharged and long after they return.

Your tax-deductible donation will be immediately directed to the VFW programs where your support is most urgently needed. The VFW is on the front line in the fight for health care, jobs, education and justice FOR VETERANS!

Razor Clam dig approved November 4th through November 11th

Clam diggers can return to coastal beaches starting Tuesday, Nov. 4, to dig razor clams during the first of two planned openings in November.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the latest round of evening digs after marine toxin test results showed the clams are safe to eat. Digging is not allowed on any beach before noon.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said the best digging typically occurs one to two hours before low tide.

“With daylight saving time ending Sunday, diggers will have even less daylight to dig by and should bring lanterns or headlamps,” Ayres said.

Beaches in Washington with razor clam fisheries include: Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point. Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor. Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas. Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips. Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park. (This beach is closed to harvest until further notice)
Beaches in Washington with razor clam fisheries include:
Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park. (This beach is closed to harvest until further notice)

Digging days and evening low tides during the upcoming opening are:

  • Nov. 4, Tuesday; 4:26 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 5, Wednesday; 5:14 p.m., -0.7 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 6, Thursday; 5:59 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 7, Friday; 6:42 p.m., -1.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 8, Saturday; 7:24 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • Nov. 9, Sunday; 8:05 p.m., -0.7 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 10, Monday; 8:47 p.m., -0.3 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 11, Tuesday; 9:31 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors

 

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2014-15 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state. A WDFW video, which demonstrates how to teach your kids to harvest razor clams, is available at http://youtu.be/gl9p_PparVk.

Ayres suggested that diggers also should check the forecast before heading out to the beaches.

 

“Clamming has been good when the weather hasn’t chased diggers away,” he said.

 

WDFW also has proposed another dig in November, tentatively set to begin Nov. 20 if marine toxin tests are favorable. That dig is tentatively scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

 

  • Nov. 20, Thursday; 5:06 p.m., 0.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 21, Friday; 5:45 p.m., -0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 22, Saturday; 6:24 p.m., -0.8 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • Nov. 23, Sunday; 7:05 p.m., -1.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 24, Monday; 7:47 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 25, Tuesday; 8:32 p.m., -0.9 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 26, Wednesday; 9:19 p.m., -0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors

 

Comprehensive information about razor clams – from updates on tentative digs to how-to advice on digging and cooking – is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

Hoquiam outsources ambulance billing, drops resident write-off

No more special treatment for Hoquiam residents when it comes to ambulance billing. The Hoquiam City Council last night adopted a new ordinance that outsources that department, and standardizes rates. Resident Dave Forbes said during the public comment period “I know that our city’s in a real financial bind, but the citizens of Hoquiam have stepped forward several times in the past with special fees that we’ve been paying for a long time that were supposed to have helped pay for the ambulance service for the average citizen in Hoquiam and it sounds to me like we’re doing away with just about all of that.”
The council last night got a look at a balanced budget proposal by Finance Director Mike Folkers, which assumes lower service levels, and the changes in ambulance fees. “As you know today we go out, we take you on an ambulance trip, we bill your insurance. Anything that’s left over from that trip we write off, for Hoquiam residents. That’s problematic for us for a number of reasons but it doesn’t help us.”
City Administrator Brian Shay likened the problem to your water department “The average homeowner pays a water bill every month, they get a water leak, they want us to come over and shut their water off, we send a guy over there with a truck and we charge him $30. We get a call for someone to check their blood pressure, we’ll send two highly trained personnel in $100,000 ambulance, and [currently] there’s no charge.
Attempting to put the brakes on the idea, Councilman Greg Grund postponed a vote on one of the the committee reports “You know you can charge somebody to death with all of these fees and everything, I think it should be tabled because people have the right to know what’s gonna happen and what’s gonna change. Tabling this until the next meeting I don’t see how that does any harm.” His motion stalled the non-transport-section of the ordinance which allows the city to bill you a flat rate if an ambulance shows up but doesn’t transport you. The council went on to adopt the new billing policies, and an Indigent Care policy last night.