GRAND LEDGE —In October, the city council of this 7,000-resident community just west of Lansing began actively exploring privatization of its ambulance (EMS) service.

Citing rising costs, the council started contract talks with Life EMS, a Grand Rapids-based company, after also receiving proposals from Hayes-Green-Beach of Charlotte and Mercy Ambulance Service of Lansing. The city’s 1995-96 EMS budget of $460,108, according to the Grand Ledge Independent, was up 12.4 % from a year earlier and more than $150,000 higher than the 1991-92 budget.

Life EMS serves 33 municipalities throughout west Michigan and does not require any public subsidy for the service it provides in any of those communities.

Meanwhile, the village-run EMS service in Mancelona, northeast of Traverse City in Antrim County, is also under the microscope. Officials there decided in October to try to find a private firm to take over the service. And in Isabella County, a plan by the Board of Commissioners to privatize ambulance service earned a strong editorial endorsement in the November 24 Morning Sun.