Despite pressure from Mayor Kristen Brown, the Columbus Ambulance Board is no closer to recommending a new ambulance provider for Bartholomew County than it was a month ago.
Brown tasked the newly resurrected ambulance board with recommending a new ambulance provider to the Public Works Board by July 17.
The board met for the third time Tuesday, but Chairman Larry Fisher says the board still has questions regarding the level of service needed for residents of Bartholomew County.
“I hope that they would give us the time to evaluate this so it’s a win-win situation all around,” he says.
Columbus Public Works Board member Susan Fye says if the ambulance committee does not make a recommendation soon, her board may vote anyway.
“The city is trying to back into a vote for the Board of Public Works contracts to support the budgeting process, which they have to follow by law,” she says. “The date that that happens is really dependent upon that.”
Columbus Regional Hospital operates 911 ambulance services in the county, a duty the fire department had more than a decade ago. The fire department has proposed a joint partnership with the hospital, and several private companies have bids in as well, including Rural Metro, SEALS, and Trans-Care.
Columbus resident and retired police officer Mike Lovelace is worried the board does not have residents’ best interests at heart.
“There’s too many political people on the board,” he says. “You have a person who has put in a bid to get the ambulance service, you have another who has a bid in to get the service. You have the commissioners who own the hospital, and a city councilman who funds the money, so you really don’t have any lay people.”
The Ambulance Board will meet again next week, and try to reach a consensus.