Kekoskee asks Mayville for new EMS offer

December 20, 2018
The Kekoskee/Williamstown Historical Society building is seen at the edge of the village.

KEKOSKEE — The Kekoskee Village Board is asking the city of Mayville for a new offer over emergency services.

The city and the village are entangled in ongoing legal disputes over the decision to allow Kekoskee and the town of Williamstown to become one. Mayville’s Common Council voted earlier this year to end the EMS contract without an agreement and, now that the merger is going through, made an offer to Kekoskee.

The offer was a one-year, $7,150 contract with three ambulances, with the stipulation that Kekoskee agree to not pursue action with land division and zoning as the issue continues moving through the courts. No other offers were before the board at its meeting Tuesday.

The village board unanimously decided to table the matter and instead ask for a new offer by Thursday. The Mayville Common Council will have a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss EMS and other legal matters in closed session.

“I would hope that they would be able to come up with something more attractive for the folks here,” said Village President Don Hilgendorf.

Supervisor Allen Schellinger said the strings attached to the offer over zoning gave too much authority to the city over zoning and land division, more than they ever had before, and that those matters shouldn’t be tied into an EMS contract.

“Regardless, we will make sure there will be EMS services provided to our citizens, no matter what happens,” he said.

Christine Churchill, the director of Mayville EMS, said at the meeting that they have been working for the area’s residents “forever.”

“It’s important to know you have incredible services right in your backyard and have for all of these years,” she said. “In fact, we didn’t charge a dime up until five years ago for EMS services.”

Churchill said that, by ordinance, the money from the contract with the city of Mayville goes directly into an ambulance replacement fund.

“Our service has three ambulances right at your back door in a minute, and minutes save lives,” she said. “In times like this, and I know there’s conflict between the city of Mayville and the village of Kekoskee, but when it comes to life or death, I hope that you choose life and that you choose the service that has always been here for you and is right in your backyard.”

In the fall, the state approved the unincorporated town of Williamstown attaching itself to the village of Kekoskee to become the village of Williamstown, with a name change. However, the idea of a name change has been dropped for now, and the two are now a much larger village of Kekoskee that surrounds Mayville.

Mayville opposes the merger over concerns it will affect the city’s ability to annex land and grow. The city appealed the state’s decision in Dodge County Circuit Court.

The board decided on Tuesday to allow properties that Mayville wanted to annex but were unapproved by the state, subject to another lawsuit, to go forward as attachments if the property owners still agreed. The board also resolved to allow Mayville to continue to have certain review powers over land within 1.5 miles of its borders, like it did before, as the appeal goes on.

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