LA GRANDE — Part of the general fund in the City of La Grande’s budget includes the ambulance collections.

The fire department, which is the only emergency medical transport service in Union County, bills its patients for transport service. Some people do have Fire Med insurance, which will help offset the costs of ambulance transport.

In the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget, the ambulance collection line item totaled $750,000.

“That’s how much (goes into the ambulance budget) for (transporting patients) in the ambulance,” City Manager Robert Strope said.

The ambulance collections pay into the city’s general fund. Strope said that despite its allocation to the general fund, all of the $750,000 collected goes toward the department’s $2.4 million budget.

“It doesn’t pay for the entire department’s budget,” he said.

Another line item in the city’s budget is for the Union/Elgin EMS collection. According to Strope, the LGFD is the only advanced life support ambulance in the county and the only transporting service. Union and Elgin each have a volunteer fire department that offers basic life support and can pick up a patient and head toward the LGFD ambulance to save time.

“If (LGFD and Union or Elgin ambulance) are transporting someone, then (Union or Elgin) would bill and owe (LGFD) money for that,” Strope explained.

The fire department does not get reimbursed for servicing other towns, other than billing the patients for the transport.