The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Beacon seeks 800 percent increase from city of Hurley


April 11, 2018


Hurley — Beacon Ambulance is looking for an 800 percent increase in its contract with the city of Hurley.

Mayor Joseph Pinardi told the city council Tuesday there’s no way the city has money in its budget for a proposed increase from $5,231 to $46,710, or more than $41,000, retroactive to March 1.

“This is just a shock,” Pinardi said, adding that the $41,000 is basically the cost of a city employee.

Pinardi said the city could negotiate next year’s contract with Beacon, but doesn’t have the funds for such a large increase this year.

He said increases are also proposed to other municipalities in the county, but none has made a commitment to the higher costs.

Pinardi said Beacon’s service has been “phenomenal,” adding it is “second to none,” and council members pondered what would happen if Beacon closes.

The mayor suggested another meeting at the county courthouse with the cities and towns to address the request for the large increase, which comes at a time when the ambulance service’s continued operation is in jeopardy.

Council members briefly discussed Aspirus Ironwood Hospital’s role in the matter.

Pinardi said a problem is that Beacon isn’t getting as many transports as in the past.

The mayor noted the city is required to provide ambulance service to its residents, who are also billed for emergencies when they use an ambulance. That is usually covered by insurance.

Pinardi suggested Beacon might be paid in the future through the county.

In other business Tuesday, the city council learned there has been an offer to buy the Silver Street Wishbones parcel, destroyed in a fire in December of 2013.

The new purchaser of the parcel would like the council’s blessing, but council members noted there are no definite plans for the building yet, although Jamey Francis said a letter from the new owner mentioned two offices.

The new owner seemed to be seeking permission to leave the building as it is until construction starts in the fall or spring of 2019.

Pinardi said the building would be built on the same footprint and said it would put another business on the tax rolls. “He wants to know we’re willing to work with him,” the mayor said.

“This is very vague,” council member Joanne Bruneau said of the letter, saying she needs more information.

Since the new owner is in Florida, the council agreed to invite him to a future meeting to discuss his plans for the site, which has been an eyesore since the fire.


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