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Kandiyohi County OKs lease to city for ambulance space in rescue squad building

WILLMAR -- Although Kandiyohi County's new rescue squad building isn't even a year old, a $150,000 remodeling project is nearly complete to make room for the Willmar Ambulance Service.

The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved a 10-year lease agreement Tuesday with the city-owned Rice Memorial Hospital for space at the building.

The ambulance service is expected to move in by Aug. 1.

The hospital will be leasing space for six sleeping apartments, kitchenette and garage space for two ambulance vehicles.

The $2,512.50-per-month lease includes $864 a month for utilities and maintenance fees that were based on a "ballpark figure," said County Administrator Larry Kleindl.

The lease will be reviewed after the first year to see if adjustments need to be made.

Either party has the option of bowing out of the agreement early. If the hospital backs out early, however, it forfeits the $150,000 in remodeling fees. If the county ends the contract because they need the ambulance space for county needs, then the county will reimburse the hospital for the remodeling costs on a pro-rated basis.

"It was a long affair, but it's very favorable to both parties," said Commissioner Richard Larson.

"This is how government is supposed to work," said Chairman Richard Falk.

"I think our county is a leader in that and you are to be commended," Falk said, directing his comments to Kleindl.

When plans were initially discussed for a new rescue squad building, the county invited the ambulance service to consider moving there and participating in a cooperative project. The hospital declined at that time.

Circumstances changed when the ambulance's existing housing and storage facilities were sold and the hospital was left looking for a new home.

Commissioner Dean Shuck said it was "too bad" the hospital was not involved with the project from the start, which would have resulted in a change in how the building was constructed, rather than remodeling of it now.

Larson said that issue was "water over the dam."

In other action:

- A permit was approved for Transystems Inc. to utilize seven-axle trucks with a weight of 97,000 pounds on County Road 1 from the Kandi-Renville County Line to state Highway 40. The state allows local jurisdictions to issue the permits for a $500 fee for farm vehicles hauling raw ag products. This is the first permit of this kind issued in Kandiyohi County. The commissioners agreed to limit the 2010 permits to County Road 1 and evaluate any road damage next year before taking action on possible permits for additional roads.

- The county will spend $14,350 to demolish an old commercial building in Hawick. The dilapidated building, which has insulation with asbestos in the attic, was deemed to be a hazard to the community. The expense of the demolition will be placed on the lot's property taxes.

- Viewers were appointed for a redetermination of benefits on Judicial Ditch 11, which includes Kandiyohi and Meeker counties.

- The commissioners approved allocating $3,000 from its water planning fund for Gorans Bros. to continue testing of water runoff involving commercial fertilizer and turkey manure on farm fields. They also approved $3,000 for the Green Lake Property Owners Association to combat Eurasian milfoil with chemical treatments and $1,000 for additional water testing in Lake Wakanda.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750