Commission wants talks with company on ambulance service

Some Augusta leaders  feel  it's time to respond  when it comes to ambulance service by sitting  down with Gold Cross  and talking.

 "I think this has spiraled out of control on many different levels and we have to do what's right for the citizens of Augusta and at least have that conversation," says Commissioner Sean Frantom. 

In a sometimes  heated debate   city leaders discussed the wisdom of entering into negotiations with Gold Cross, and possibly paying the company a subsidy to provide ambulance service, when the city doesn't legally have  to.

"Right now Gold Cross has got the zone so it is Gold Cross responsibility to provide ambulance service to the residents of Richmond County," said Commissioner Bill Fennoy. 

Last year Commissioners voted to enter  into the process of taking back the ambulance of zone from Gold Cross, so some see  no need for negotiations with the company.

"I believe that's the best option for the city of Augusta it's one I fully support 
unequivocally," said Mayor Hardie Davis. 

But a majority of commissioners felt the best course  of action would be to negotiate, even to pay a subsidy to better hold  Gold Cross accountable. 

" And we can control the response times the accountability to know where each ambulances is and utilize our own ambulances we already paid for," said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle. 

 "If you give Gold Cross a subsidy the taxpayers suffer."

"No not at all the taxpayer bills go down in half the taxpayers won't have to pay a show up fee if you don't get transported we'll have better service because we'll have to hold them responsible for response times so this is a win win if we put the subsidy back in my mind," said Commissioner Sean Frantom. 

 Mayor Davis called Superior Court Judge Jolly's decision last week to toss out all of Augusta's  efforts to to take over the ambulance zone as judicial overreach. city lawyers telling commissioners  the state will appeal, meanwhile the city is preparing to start talks with Gold Cross with  the company saying everything is on the table for discussion. 

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