Douglas County Commission to consider ambulance rate increase

In this photo from Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, members of a Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical crew load a cyclist into an ambulance.

Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to consider a resolution Wednesday that would increase ambulance rates for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical.

Commissioners were informed last month about the plan, which the Lawrence City Commission also will be asked to approve, to increase ambulance fees for 2016, 2017 and 2018. When the last of the increases becomes effective in 2018, rates will be 25 percent higher than present.

When the matter was brought to the commission last month, County Administrator Craig Weinaug said the increases would allow the ambulance service to leverage as many Medicaid and Medicare dollars as possible, and thus help limit property tax support for the department.

The commission also will be presented a letter from Kansas University swim coach Clark Campbell requesting use in September of Lone Star Lake for the first collegiate open-water national championships. The request asks that the lake be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16 to set up the 5-kilometer course and from 6 a.m. to noon Sept. 17 for the men’s and women’s races. Campbell’s letter to the county requesting use of the lake states the College Swimming Coaches Association of America would provide insurance for the event.

Campbell wrote that details remain to be worked out but estimated that vehicles would fill the 50-lot east-side parking, requiring from 50 to 100 vehicles to park along roads at the lake.

In other business, the commission:

• Will consider an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation that will have the county treat state highway rights-of-way this year for noxious weeds in return for compensation for the county’s chemical, labor and equipment costs.

• Approve an agreement with Blue Valley Public Safety to service the county’s 35 sirens and associated equipment for $29,000.

The Douglas County Commission meets at 4 p.m. each Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. A full meeting agenda is available online at