For eight years, Gold Cross has been providing Augusta's ambulance service and for Augusta Commissioners like Marion Williams, there's no reason to decide now to find someone else.
"You got to make a decision, that's why you're elected, to make tough decisions. You make a decision. It's been good, I have no complaints, up until now, to this point," said Williams.
Last winter, Commissioners voted to go out for bids to see if there was a better deal than Gold Cross. But, in May, Commissioners hit the brakes on that process and directed City Administrator Fred Russell to negotiate a new deal with the Gold Cross.
"Well, I'm very concerned about ambulance service. That's the reason, I think we should have done what we set out to do in the very first place, back in March...was to open it up for bids and let the process take care of its self," says Commissioner Alvin Mason.
However, negotiations resulted in Gold Cross agreeing to cut its $1.2 million supplement from the city by $400,000 over three years.
The negotiations also resulted in Gold Cross agreeing to a minimum number of ambulances, 10 during peak times, and 6 overnight. But is that enough to be safe?
"The first contract we had did not list a minimum. We were told to go back and get a minimum number, that is a minimum number. More will be operated as necessary. It's still as necessary with these minimum numbers, I'm not concerned," said Russell.
Commissioners are ready to stay on board with the same ambulance service, even though some see that as an emergency.
The Commission vote Tuesday night only directs Russell to prepare a contract with Gold Cross. That deal must still come back to the Commission for final approval.
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