Council delays ambulance choice

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 26, 2003

The Selma City Council is waiting on an Alabama attorney general’s opinion before deciding which ambulance company to work with.

At Monday’s council meeting the council voted 5-0 in favor of waiting on an opinion solicited by the City of Troy before choosing Haynes Ambulance of Alabama, CARE Ambulance or a rotation of both.

Council members James Durry, Rita Sims Franklin, Jean Martin, Nancy Sewell, Sam Randolph and President George Evans voted in favor. Council members B.L. Tucker and Glenn Sexton weren’t present. Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw was out of the room at the time of the vote.

The opinion request concerns an ambulance company’s classification. According to City Attorney Jimmy Nunn, if the opinion states ambulance companies are a professional service, the city doesn’t have to bid it out.

Nunn noted that the city’s current contract with Haynes Ambulance ends Sept. 30, 2003.

The council will renew the contract for Haynes Ambulance, the company it currently uses for ambulance service, on a month-by-month basis until the opinion is released. The city contracts with the company to respond to E-911 calls.

Representatives of both companies spoke to the council prior to Monday’s 5 p.m. meeting. Tod Haynes, general manager of Selma operations with Haynes Ambulance, spoke about his company and answered council members’ questions.

According to Haynes, his company employs 20 people, which includes EMT’s and paramedics.

Each ambulance costs more than $80,000 once all equipment is installed, which includes oxygen.

Haynes said he’d prefer the city bid out its ambulance service instead of using a rotation between two companies. &uot;Montgomery has a lot of problems with rotation,&uot; Haynes said.

Keith Bryan, regional vice-president with CARE Ambulance, also spoke to the council on Monday. According to Bryan, his company began operations in Selma this year. CARE Ambulance has never received a government subsidy or closed a location once it’s been opened, he noted.

The cost per ambulance starts at $50,000, but Bryan said that price didn’t include the stretcher, radios and medical equipment. &uot;You can get it up to $100,000 in a hurry,&uot; Bryan added.

Both Haynes and Bryan said they don’t charge if a call is canceled. Bryan, however, said sometimes people get abusive of that system.