Archived Story

Hartselle council delays vote on ambulance service

Published 11:35am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Hartselle City Council delayed a vote on whether County EMS can continue to provide ambulance services for city after officials received information late Tuesday, according to city attorney Larry Madison.

“We got information this afternoon that could potentially affect one of the applicants’s abilities to provide services in the city of Hartselle,” Madison said after the council meeting Tuesday. “We need to verify the information before the council makes a decision on awarding the ambulance service contract.”

Madison said he wouldn’t comment on the nature of the information or whether the information was about County EMS, which was recommended to continue to be the city’s ambulance service provider by the city’s EMS Committee on a 4-2 vote.

Fire Chief Steve Shelton recommended that the Hartselle City Council give County EMS a one-year contract with a six-month probation period at a work session Monday. Upon getting the information Tuesday, however, Mayor Don Hall asked the council to table the decision until they could investigate the matter.

Shelton said he felt comfortable with the decision after reviewing the company’s financial statements provided during the interview process.

“I think their financial situation is improving,” Shelton said. “Their new owner, Matthew (Garwood), Terry Garwood’s son, has been much tighter with their finances. They’re doing as good or maybe better since Matthew took over.”

Shelton said the committee requested proposals from 14 different ambulance services with only six returning proposals. Of those six, Shelton said three of them didn’t turn in all of the required documents in their proposals.

The three that made cut were County EMS, Crossroads Ambulance and First Response EMS. Shelton said County EMS has continued to have good response times and they have five trucks in the Hartselle area.

Shelton said the probationary period will allow him to interact with the ambulance service directly if they need to make changes to improve service.

Council President Bill Smelser also asked that County EMS togive the city a monthly financial statement during the probationary period.

In January, following the death of former owner Terry Garwood, County EMS had three of its ambulances repossessed. Matthew Garwood told the council in February that the repossessions occurred because the business was solely in his father’s name and the financing company was unsure if the ambulance service would continue.

Madison said the decision is still up to the City Council at this time.

“They could send it back to the EMS Committee for further review, but right now, it’s in the council’s lap,” Madison said.

In other business, the council:

• moved its budget adjustment for the new downtown parking lot construction from the general fund to the state capital improvement fund. City Clerk/Controller Rita Lee said the city has received more than $300,000 from the state for capital improvements.

• accepted the resignation for court clerk-magistrate Stanley Holt.

• approved a $15,816 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant to obtain a Fingerprint Livescan System.

• approved the second quarter safety award winners, who will receive a $50 check. The winners are Sean Persall – Police, Charles Haggermaker – Public Works, Zack McGee – Fire Department, Casey Glenn – Administration and Darryl Turnery – Park and Recreation.

• will appoint Billy Buckelew, Jeffrey Chunn and David T. Jones to the airport board.

• adjusted the fire department’s budget by $5,197.18 for computer equipment that was installed in the department’s vehicles to communicate with Morgan County 911.

• discussed changes to the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual contract.

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