SIDNEY --  The Cheyenne County Commissioners meeting Monday morning started with an announcement that local ambulance service will be changing. 

Cheyenne County Clerk Beth Fiegenschuh read a letter submitted to the county from Regional West Interim CEO Mel McNea that the hospital will not be renewing its agreement to provide ambulance service to the Sidney community. 

According to the letter, both Regional West and the County are required to provide 60 days notice to end the agreement. The agreement is in effect through July 1, 2023. 

The Cheyenne County commissioners meet regularly on the first and third Monday of each month. The commissioners met May 1 and are scheduled for May 15.

Cheyenne County official are reviewing Nebraska State Statute 13-303 and how it may impact Regional West's decision.

Revised Statute 13-303 says : "The county boards of counties and the governing bodies of cities and villages may establish an emergency medical service, including the provision of scheduled and unscheduled ambulance service, as a governmental service either within or without the county or municipality, as the case may be. The county board or governing body may contract with any city, person, firm, or corporation licensed as an emergency medical service for emergency medical care by emergency care providers."

The statute also addresses funding: "Any county board of counties and the governing bodies of cities and villages may pay their cost for such service out of available general funds or may levy a tax for the purpose of providing the service, which levy shall be in addition to all other taxes and shall be in addition to restrictions on the levy of taxes provided by statute, except that when a rural or suburban fire protection district provides the service, the county shall pay the cost for the county service by levying a tax on that property not in the rural or suburban fire protection district providing the service. The levy shall be subject to subsection (10) of section 77-3442 or section 77-3443, as applicable."

The dilemma of how to provide emergency medical services is not limited to Cheyenne County. Keith County recently received a 180-day notice of termination, also by Regional West.

Sidney Regional Medical Center CEO Jason Petik later said the hospital will work with the county in any way it can.