County Commissioners approved on Nov. 5 a resolution to allow Dade County EMA to discuss contract negotiations with CHI-Memorial as its new ambulance service.
EMA Director Alex Case said that out of the other bids received, only CHI-Memorial fit the requirements needed. Case said EMA was given two different options from the servicer that included either one 24-hour truck and a 12-hour truck or two 24-hour trucks.
Case is pushing for option two, which would mean that despite how early or late in the day, an ambulance would always be available. This option will cost $400,000 over a four-year period.
“Why is it costing so much?” Case said. “They’re proposing to run two 24-hour trucks here with 16 [personnel]. The staff will work one 24-hour day on and three days off. Two days in a seven-day pay period.”
“The other bids were way out of our league,” Commissioner Robert Goff said, adding that some were even in the millions of dollars.
Still, the commissioners were skeptical about how the $400,000 would be paid for. The 2021 budget can only cover almost $350,000 of the cost.
Case said that he is working to figure out how the rest could be paid for, adding that CHI-Memorial told him that the EMA can pay what they can afford upfront and make up the rest of the difference over 43 months.
“We’ve got until the December meeting or maybe in January [to approve the resolution],” County Executive Ted Rumley said.
“Regardless of If you choose to accept or not accept this proposal or not, we’ve got to get moving on this,” Case said.
“If we agree to this tonight, we’ve still got work to do,” Rumley said. “This is not the final step.”
“We’ve got less than 90 days to do this,” Case said. “We can’t wait until the next meeting I don’t believe. We asked for an extra month for this and they denied it. It takes time to get people hired and go through orientation.”
“I’d like you to look into the [cheaper option] as well because I’m not sure where that extra money is going to come from,” Commissioner Lamar Lowery said.
Case said that the cheaper option, which costs $200,000, would hurt the EMA because only one of the trucks is available for 24 hours. Case said that the EMA was left waiting on an ambulance during an emergency 89 times last month because they did not have a second 24-hour truck.
“It’ll hurt us,” Case said. “It worries me.”
The commission approved the resolution and plan to meet in two or three weeks to discuss contract negotiations.
Several proclamations were made for the month of November including Adoption Awareness Month, Family Caregivers Month, Hospice Month, Diabetes Awareness Month and Recycle Day for Nov. 15.
“We’re living in a time where China stopped taking our recyclables and we don’t know what to do with ours,” Goff said. “We’ve got to be upfront that there’s no market for recycling – not just here in Dade County but also in the United States. It’s just hard to pass a proclamation to that end but we’re still [dumping in landfills].”
The commissioners gave their departmental reports for the month of October.
Lowery reported that 4,166 911 calls were made last month, with 241 being EMS calls, 267 fire calls and 3,658 police calls.
Goff reported that the county SPLOST went up by $244,000, adding that the increase was the second-highest of the year.
Commissioner Allan Bradford reported that Slygo road has been paved and that County Road 6 will be paved this week.
Commissioner Phillip Hartline was absent from the meeting.