JEFFERSON-Ashe Medics won the right to continue to provide ambulance services to the county’s populace Tuesday morning, but it did not come without with some controversy from two dissenting county commissioners.
The term of the contract is set to extend through June 30, 2024 with a current county subsidy of $79,235.57 per month ($950,826 annually) shall remain the same through June 30, 2020.
Effective July 1, 2020, the payment will increase by 4 percent to $82,404.99 per month through June 30, 2024.
The contract also stipulates that the current provision requiring that the director to reside within 25 miles of the base should be eliminated.
Commissioner William Sands said that although he’s pleased with the level of service provided by Ashe Medics, he did take issue with the length of the contract, which he said makes it “more binding.”
He then referenced the coming election season and how turnover on the board could affect future editions of the board of commissioners.
He then pointed out to an increase in call volume.
“There are so many uncertainties,” said Sands. “I know a lot of your money is coming from Medicare or Medicaid – the government isn’t always consistent – for your and our protection, I would like to see this (the contract) continue as it is.”
Sands also said that by extending the current contract, it takes away the county’s to seek competing bids.
“Competition is the American way,” said Sands. “I’m very pleased with the way things are. I just think extending it would not be a good business thing to do.”
Commissioner Gary Roark disagreed with Sands.
“He’s putting all this investment into his organization,” said Roark. “Taking consideration of his payments for his equipment, it’s going to take 10 years to pay off all his equipment.”
Commissioner Jeff Rose added commissioners “make decisions all the time” that affect future boards and that Sands’ point of election cycles was moot.
Sands also said that Ashe Medics owner Craig Sullivan had significant advantages in the bidding process as he has an existing base of operations. Commissioner Brien Richardson said that isn’t unusual in the business world.
Commissioner Larry Rhodes also voted against the measure.
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.