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SCAT Tells Council Of Staffing Challenges

SCAT-1 1Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Community Ambulance Team is looking ahead at potential staffing problems that may be on the horizon, and according to SCAT Director Cindy Freeman, it’s a community problem.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Sheldon City Council, Freeman told the Council that, while SCAT currently has sufficient volunteers to handle the volume of calls they’re receiving now, the current volunteer staff is aging and it has become difficult to find new people to commit to this service.  She blamed this on several factors including the busier lifestyle of many people, the training that is required and the fact that most businesses are not able or willing to allow their employees to leave work to respond to an ambulance call.  The issue is compounded by the increase in patient transfers, often for people from other towns.  Council member Ron Rensink said it disturbs him greatly when Sheldon has to cover for other towns.  In O’Brien County, only the Sheldon and Primghar ambulances will do patient transfers.  The way the County helps fund ambulances has often irritated Sheldon officials because the County allots every community the same amount of money in their budget.  Council members decided to get a group together and work on the SCAT concerns.

Sheldon Development Director Curt Strouth reported on the work being done to establish a Home Base Iowa program for Sheldon and O’Brien County.  This is a State of Iowa program that addresses the shortage of a skilled workforce by recruiting veterans to work and live in Iowa communities.   Strouth said to participate, the program needs 51 businesses, and they have over eighty on board already.  The Council approved the purchase of signage at the four main entrances to the city and several incentives to veterans who would move to Sheldon as a result of the program.  These incentives include forgiveness of the utility deposit fee, a voucher for $125.00 in park and recreation fees, three months water and sewer service up to fifty dollars per month, and three days of free camping.  Only twenty counties in the state have taken advantage of the Home Base Iowa Program so far.

In other business, the council addressed a request from Renae and Matt Hartog that the city take back the lot in the Sunshine Addition the Hartogs had purchased from the city for one dollar.  Council member Ron Rensink made the motion to approve that action by saying, “since we made a mistake, I move we take back the lot.”  His motion was seconded and approved by a unanimous vote.

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