New ambulance ordinance approved
After rescinding their original ordinance last month, the Franklin County Commission voted on Monday to approve a new ambulance ordinance for the county.
Commissioners said the new ordinance should eliminate many of the discrepancies in the last ordinance that prevented Shoals Ambulance from signing the contract after they were awarded the bid for services in June.
Franklin County Emergency Management Agency director Roy Gober is a member of the county’s EMS Committee, which was created in February with the purpose of handling any issues that might arise with the ambulance ordinance or the county’s ambulance service provider.
Gober said after Shoals Ambulance was awarded the bid in June to be the county’s ambulance service provider, attorneys for Shoals Ambulance brought up some issues with the contract, including differences in the number of ambulances required, the location of ambulances, and other issues.
After several meetings between the attorneys for Shoals Ambulance and the county’s attorney, Sen. Roger Bedford, both parties decided the best action would be to rescind the original ordinance and come up with a new ordinance that would line up better with the contract awarded to the ambulance service provider.
At their July meeting, the commission voted to give authority to the EMS Committee to re-do the ordinance and set up a pre-bid conference for all interested companies who planned to bid on being the county’s ambulance service provider.
Gober said there were four interested parties who attended the pre-bid conference: Shoals Ambulance, Transcare Ambulance Service, Pleasant Bay Ambulance Service and First Response Ambulance Service from Decatur.
“This process is taking us longer than we anticipated, but it’s better to do things the right way and make sure we get the best care possible for our citizens than to rush through it and it not be right,” Commission chairman Judge Barry Moore said.
The commission has opened up the bid process and bids will be accepted through Aug. 27.
After that time, the EMS Committee will review all submitted bids and will recommend an ambulance service provider for the county, which will then be voted on by the county commission for approval.
The commission could select an ambulance service by their Sept. 15 business meeting
In the absence of a county-wide service provider, Pleasant Bay Ambulance Service has been servicing the county.
“This is the first time we’ve ever tried to do something like this, and really, there probably should have been a county-wide ambulance ordinance in place 25 years ago, but we are getting it done now,” commissioner Rayburn Massey said,
“This thing won’t be perfect, but I believe we have something now that the ambulance providers can work with.”