Oroville asked to annex into Rural EMS District

OROVILLE – Chris Branch, director of community development, gave an update on EMS services, discussing the county commissioners’ request that...

OROVILLE – Chris Branch, director of community development, gave an update on EMS services, discussing the county commissioners’ request that the city annex their portion of the ambulance service into that of the Rural EMS District.

“It was helpful to have Mayor Pro Tem Jon Neal go down and speak with the commissioners,” said Branch. “We gave a pretty good attempt to convey the city’s position.”

“The commissioners are pretty insistent on us annexing into the EMS District, I felt as if we were going around in a circle. They want to mash us in with Tonasket,” said Branch.

While Branch said the commissioners’ proposal to annex into the rural district has a model that could suit the city, there are concerns about the commissioners changing their minds or new commissioners wanting total control over the district.

“It’s possible to have a joint governing board though if the commissioners decided to go back to having total say we might find ourselves in a situation we don’t want to be in. We need to have a termination clause where both parties agree. When the district was first formed the county passed a resolution that said they would contract with Oroville,” Branch said.

“My concern is annexing with them and seeing it revert right back to where it is now. I could see it reverting back to what got us in this place in the first place,” said Branch. “The governing body is the commissioners if we annex to the district.”

The point we made is that for 30 years there were commissioners that allowed their boards to contract with cities. Our concern is get three people that can change things very quickly.”

Council members seemed to be leery of annexing into the rural EMS District.

“Well it sounds like a sticky wicket to me,” said Councilman Walt Hart.

“I don’t like them arm twisting us into doing what they want,” added Councilwoman Neysa Roley. “They really like to micro manage.”

“Look where that’s got us,” said Councilman Tony Koepke.

“My concern is most of the problems were caused by their board and somehow they got to blame us,” said Mayor Pro Tem Neal.

“Lifeline may contract with each of us,” said Branch. “But they currently base their contract on all the calls, not sure they want to do this. If one of the parties doesn’t pass the levy it wouldn’t want to… these guys can’t operate without the call volume.”

City call volume is higher, but Lifeline has to go further on calls in the rural areas, which means higher fuel and maintenance costs to the company, according to Branch.

The general consensus was the decision on whether the city will or won’t annex the Oroville Ambulance Service into the Rural EMS will not be made until the council gets more information from the county and has additional assurances their concerns will be addressed.

In other business

The Friends of the Oroville Library and the Oroville Library Board presented checks to the city totaling $64,000 toward the remodel of the library.

The Oroville Library Board and Friends of the Library presented checks to the City of Oroville for the public library remodel - one for $57,000 and the other for $7000. Pictured with Oroville Mayor Pro Tem Jon  Neal are (l-r) Sue Geisler, Marilyn McCullough, David Wolosik, Neal, LaVonne Hammelman, Salley Bull and Stephanie Hart. Gary DeVon/staff photo
The Oroville Library Board and Friends of the Library presented checks to the City of Oroville for the public library remodel – one for $57,000 and the other for $7000. Pictured with Oroville Mayor Pro Tem Jon Neal are (l-r) Sue Geisler, Marilyn McCullough, David Wolosik, Neal, LaVonne Hammelman, Salley Bull and Stephanie Hart. Gary DeVon/staff photo

The Friends of the Library’s check was $57,000 and the library board check was $7,000.

“We look forward to this project,” said David Wolosik, president of the FOL.

Oroville’s Depot Museum is already undergoing a renovation and being painted, according to Arnie Marchand, with the Borderlands Historic Society.

“Everything is going well,” said Marchand.

He also talked about the new Bike Station that will be available for bicyclists who need to repair their bikes. “It will have a bike vice to hold your bike off the ground while you work on it and ten tools to fix most any bike. It will be complete as soon as a part is flown in from Quebec,” he said.

Marchand said the beaver, horse and salmon sculptures will get new signage to credit the artists and designers.

In addition, Marchand talked about the upcoming Osoyoos Lake Appreciation Day to be held in Osoyoos, BC.

“I think this important you attend. They’re really putting on the dog. Please go and attend this thing,” said Marchand, who has been working on an annual Neighbor Day between Osoyoos, Oroville and Tonasket, with the event rotating between the three towns.

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