The Spring Valley City Council met for its Aug. 11 meeting and quickly got to work assessing the minimum call time requirements for the Spring Valley Ambulance Service.
“Right now if we hire any ambulance personnel they have to take 48 hours a month and 12 hours on the weekends,” City Administrator Deb Zimmer explained. “Sometimes the policy isn’t being fully enforced because there is confusion.”
To alleviate the issues, the council discussed lowering the mandatory hours to 30 hours a month with no specified hours for the weekends and the added ability to take a leave of absence.
“That number may be even too high, because we’re chasing people away right upfront. We’ve got people coming in with full-time jobs, kids and go to school, so there’s no way they could do that. They are good people and they’re dedicated and we’d be chasing them away before they even get their foot in the door,” Spring Valley Ambulance crew member Jim McCabe told the council.
“I don’t know what else to do with it. The schedule is pretty spotty right now,” council member Todd Jones said of the continuing issue. “We’re thinking if we implement this now the director doesn’t have to, but if he wants to change it when he gets in here we’ll look at that.”
Calling the new policy a “starting point,” Zimmer explained the penalties for not meeting the required hours; the first month there will be a verbal warning, the second time in the year there will be a conference with the director and a verbal warning and the third time they will be terminated.
“Personally, I wouldn’t want to see this have to go through. I think we’re volunteers and we all ought to step up to the plate and do it, but obviously we’re having issues with that not happening. So how else do you get people to step up if they aren’t doing it,” Jones concluded.
After much discussion, the council voted to approve the new policy with Jones opposed.
Jones then updated the council on the ambulance director position.
“Since our last meeting the gentleman we offered the position to had some changes in his life schedule, so he declined the offer. We are going to go with our second in line, Brett Rima (of Thief River Falls, Minn.), but he won’t be able to start until Sept. 2,” Jones explained before making the motion to approve the department’s recommendation.
The council unanimously approved the hiring of Rima for the ambulance director position.
The Bucknell subdivision lift station has been upsized as required by the council.
Zimmer informed the council that the station, which is part of the sewage collection system, has been tested and passed all inspections.
The council had previously agreed to pay up to $25,000 for the project. After reviewing invoices the council approved the full $25,000 for reimbursement.
The council then approved the street of Bucknell Court.
Wastewater treatment plant agreement
The council reviewed an amendment for the city’s contract with PeopleService, Inc., which manages, operates and maintains Spring Valley’s wastewater treatment plant.
“What they are doing is reducing our monthly cost (from 16,668 to $15,626),” Zimmer said.
This affects the remainder of the contract, which spans from September through December.
During their previous meeting the council had decided to not renew the contract for 2015 until they first try to advertise for the positions.
The council approved the amended contract.
• The Spring Valley Fire Department will be purchasing a new air line system in the building at the estimated cost of $4,500.
• The sewer televising will begin this week as they work to determine line issues. The updated cost of the project, which spans around the Pleasant Avenue and Washington Avenue neighborhoods, is now estimated at $25,000, but had been approved for up to $50,000.
• The council approved a request from Michelle Heaser, former proprietor of Outsider’s Rockabilly Saloon (also known as the Old Tyme Saloon), for a refund on the business’ month-old liquor license. After fees were deducted Heaser was awarded $1,200 of the initial $1,700. The business is no longer open.
• The council approved a bid on the city’s lot at Center Avenue and Griswold Street for $500 with the assessments of $15,000 waived on the condition that a home be put on the property within 24 months.
The next council meeting will be held on Aug. 25 at 6 p.m.