HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) — There are some major questions in western Wisconsin about who will respond when someone calls 911 for an ambulance.

Right now, St. Croix EMS responds to all calls in the town of Hudson.

Town leaders say they will likely go with a private company in hopes of saving money.

This situation is playing out in the town of Hudson, which is the area that surrounds the city of Hudson.

Last year, the city considered going with an outside ambulance service but decided against it.

Now, leaders of the town say they’re interested in going private — and it is full steam ahead.

It’s the call no one wants to make, but one almost everyone at some point has to make.

Eric Raley runs the oldest operating bar in Wisconsin, where things seem to stay the same, but there are some changes going on nearby. Raley says he’s not a fan of the changes.

The town of Hudson plans to stop using St. Croix EMS.

“They’re responsive, they are great people and I don’t want to see it go away,” Raley said.

Town Chair Jeff Johnson says it’s his idea, and it’s his duty to make the change.

“We would save this year $142 thousand that we wouldn’t have to pay to the city that we could use for roads or other things in the town,” Johnson said.

Johnson is trying to work out a contract with Lakeview and Health Partners to run service from the local hospital.

He says the town wouldn’t have to pay a penny if a private company takes over.

“I don’t know how you couldn’t look seriously at a proposal that’s gonna save the tax payers $140 thousand and give good service,” Johnson said. “We wouldn’t be looking at it if we didn’t think it was good service.”

But he’s getting resistance from locals like Raley who says he’ll pay more taxes to keep things local.

“Take care of EMS,” Raley said. “You want me to, tomorrow I’ll walk down and put a $100 bill on your desk.”

It’s not clear if or how much more the new service would cost the resident who calls 911 or if any St Croix EMS workers could lose their jobs.

St. Croix will make another pitch to the town of Hudson in early September. Johnson says if they get the private offer before then, they will likely proceed.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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