MARENGO, WI -- Marengo is a small town with a big problem.
"It's a small community. Mostly senior citizens, and I'm just worried about them getting covered for ambulance services," said City Chairperson Steve Walston.
For the past five years, Marengo worked with Great Divide Ambulance Services.
In August, Great Divide announced their decision to stop responding to six townships in Wisconsin, effective January 1, 2021.
Walston said he is concerned for his community.
"Come January 1, we're going to have six townships that don't have any type of ambulance service, or EMT, or even EMR service," he said.
Marengo is having trouble finding an ambulance company they can afford, and with enough capacity to take on the township.
"There's Mellon to the south of us and there's Ashland to the north of us," Walston said. "Both have ambulance service, but from what I understand they are grossly understaffed."
Walston said his neighbors are concerned whether they will have service, and at what cost.
"We're not asking for it to be free," he said. "We're just looking for service come the first of the year."
It is a costly problem, and Marengo leaders are hoping to buy more time.
"We've asked Great Divide for an extension for at least six months to let us work on this, but we haven't got anywhere with that yet either," Walston said. "We're in a pickle."
Marengo has until the end of the year to respond to this emergency.
Great Divide Ambulance Services told KBJR 6 they are cutting service because they cannot find enough people to work.
Great Divide Manager Rob Puls said finding first responders is a constant struggle, and he thinks the pandemic has created concern about entering other people's homes.
Puls said Great Divide notified the townships with enough time to come up with a plan.
Puls was not aware of the request to extend the contract but said they logistically can't do it