The Meade County (S.D.) Commission on Tuesday (Jan. 28) unanimously approved a public election to decide the formation of an ambulance district in rural areas of southwestern Meade County, according to the Rapid City Journal.

Meade County Auditor Lisa Schieffer said the election would be set for Monday, March 23, with absentee voting starting on Feb. 6.

Eligible voters are those within the boundaries of the proposed district in areas of Meade County east, north and south of Sturgis, but excluding the city of Sturgis and the town of Buffalo Chip.

A similar election to form a pair of rural ambulance districts in December 2018 failed by a slim margin of votes, with the Sturgis City Council then voting in April 2019 to redraw the boundaries of its city-run ambulance service to exclude rural areas outside the city.

The city had cited years of rising expenses and funding shortfalls in its decision to redraw the service boundaries. Included in the rural service areas were a number of campgrounds hosting thousands of Sturgis motorcycle rally visitors each August.

The city said it needed $60,000 each year to pay for ambulance service in the rural areas just outside of Sturgis.

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