Following multiple contract negotiations, a long-term agreement was finalized this week between the cities of Sedgwick and Halstead to provide emergency medical services for the former.

Halstead EMS has been covering Sedgwick since the city relinquished its license in March. Operating under a temporary agreement since then, the long-term deal approved by the Sedgwick City Council this week (and Halstead the week prior) will be in place for three years at an annual cost of $150,000 to the city of Sedgwick.

"All that is lacking now is the signature of both mayors, but it is officially done and in place," said Halstead Mayor Bill Ewert.

Deadlines may have changed throughout, but Ewert stated that the final contract remained fairly similar to the initial temporary agreement.

One of the major items included in the deal addressed the exchange of Sedgwick's ambulance with the Halstead EMS department, with the plan to make some needed improvements and make sure the resources are available for the Halstead department to cover the entirety of the two communities.

"We do not want to be left without an ambulance to provide service for our citizens," Ewert said.

Ewert said once the ambulance is secured from Sedgwick (within the next week) it will immediately be sent to a company specializing in rehab of emergency vehicles and join the Halstead fleet in one to two months.

There was some initial hesitancy from Sedgwick council members in regards to giving up the city's ambulance, but the exchange was ultimately approved as part of the three-year agreement as a means to address providing the best service to all citizens — both in Sedgwick and Halstead.

Halstead EMS Director Anderson Lowe noted he is still collaborating with Sedgwick emergency personnel in those regards, working with the Sedgwick Fire Department on first response situations in order to provide the best overall coverage possible — including the advanced life support and more that Halstead EMS offers.

"I foresee it working out for both cities on a positive note, and that's our overall task is making sure citizens on both sides are fully covered, protected and have transportation service," Lowe said.

"They (Sedgwick) reconfirmed Monday night how happy they are with the service they have received from us and are so thankful that we were willing to step up and provide that service," Ewert said. "That's what Harvey County's all about — the different communities in Harvey County exchanging services as they can provide it."