AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Three companies are making the case to take over the Richmond County ambulance zone, and Augusta leaders are wanting what’s the best service for residents. 

“We can get adequate response times for our citizens, that’s the most important, that is why we’re here today, so we’re looking forward to moving forward,” said Mayor Garnett Johnson.

After hearing from the companies and scoring the proposals, the sub-committee recommended Central EMS as Augusta’s zone provider, with the committee and some commissioners raising concerns about Gold Cross response times.

“I’ve got e-mails, I have got phone calls, I have text messages, people calling saying they’ve been waiting for an ambulance for two hours,” said Commissioner Bobby Williams.  

Central said it will provide a quality service, but said the service costs money, and said negotiations will be needed before giving Augusta a price.

“Make sure the response times are good, quality is good and that will take a certain amount of funding to get that done, so I don’t have enough data to give you a dollar figure, but we will come to that soon,” said Gary Coker, Central EMS President. 

“I think most importantly we got to get at with service for our citizens whatever it costs. It’s going to be my job as well as the commission to sell that to the community,” said Mayor Johnson.

Gold Cross finished last in the scoring, the company said it wasn’t surprised, adding the city cut its subsidy from $1.4 million to $650,000. 

“Everybody is so quick, we’ll pay another company more money and they will do a better job, when you got a local provider here in your community that lives here that you don’t want to provide the funding to,” said Gold Cross Vice President Steven Vincent.  

The full EMS council votes on the recommendation Monday and that vote could put Central EMS in the city’s ambulance driver seat.