STARS Air Ambulance has requested the County of Wetaskiwin add the organization to its protective services budget at a $2 per capita rate.
County council agreed to take the request into consideration during its 2017 budget deliberations.
Glenda Farnden, senior municipal liaison with STARS, presented to councillors during their June 14 meeting. “We really need to look at sustainability … for our future generations. I’m asking for your kind consideration.”
Farnden says approximately 76 per cent of STARS annual $40 million operating budget is generated by fundraising and the rest comes from block government funding.
However, STARS has also been negatively impacted by the downturn in the economy. “Largely in the past we’ve had a great deal of industry support.”
Every year call volumes increase by six to 10 per cent, says Farnden.
Last year STARS flew more than 1,800 missions. In the organization’s early years it was running between 50 and 60 missions per year.
Farnden gave councillors a breakdown of missions in the County of Wetaskiwin over the last five years — roughly 45 missions per year and a total of 255 in five years.
Each mission itself, not taking into account administration and additional costs, uses $250,000.
Already this year Wetaskiwin has had 27 STARS missions.
Farnden says STARS Air Ambulance is critical for the care of county residents. “Rural residents are disadvantaged by times and distance.”
In the June 30 issue of the Pipestone Flyer, on page 14, in the STARS seeking county budget consideration story, it states each STARS mission costs $250,000. The correct cost of each mission is $5,400. We apologize for the error.