Ambulance contract questions still need answers
EUREKA SPRINGS -- Although the Western Carroll County Ambulance District (WCCAD) is on the verge of finalizing a new five-year contract with the City of Eureka Springs to provide ambulance service, a few questions remain.
Meeting Tuesday, the WCCAD board looked over the draft contract as revised by board secretary Joe McClung, Jr. After the discussion, the board will submit the contract to their attorney, Matt Bishop, for his review and input on a few points.
The new draft contract contains some changes over the previous version. While the contract term is from July 1 this year to June 30, 2017, a terms clause allows it to be extended for an additional five-year period if both parties agree in writing and six-month notice is given before the contract end date.
Asked whether the board can do that legally or has to bid the contract, members were unclear.
"The ordinance states it must be bid," McClung said, but he was unable to find anything in the state enabling legislation establishing an ambulance district that it must be.
"It's in the county ordinance," Chairman John Dolce said, but added he had lent out his copy, so could not refer to it.
Chuck Olson, attending the meeting by call-in, said he was looking at the ordinance and did not see anything about that nor about a specified contract term.
"Just that we have the ability to contract with a qualified provider," he said.
The performance specifications for the bid also state the ambulance service provider must furnish to the WCCAD board income and expenditures figures related to the service, but the contract draft only says access to such records must be available.
Such reports were required in the prior contract with Eureka Springs, but they were never provided.
Eureka Springs Fire Chief Rhys Williams said he could get those figures from the city finance director.
"We have a vested interest," McClung told Williams. "We need to know the city is financially solvent."
If the city were for some reason unable to fulfill the contract, a performance bond is included that would allow WCCAD to contract for other services.
The bond was reduced by the board from the $250,000 required in the performance specifications to $150,000 at a recent special meeting.
The draft will be sent to Bishop for review and further research on the questions raised.
In other business, WCCAD:
* Heard Olson say he is working with the county clerk to get space for WCCAD's records storage, but that is not yet finalized.
* Heard EMR Alliance Chairman Lynn Palmer say Holiday Island Fire Chief Jack Deaton has recommended Ken Mills to be Dolce's Holiday Island replacement on the commission in July. The three commissioners, who serve three-year terms. reside in different areas of the Western District. Olson is from the Grassy Knob area, and McClung is from the Hwy. 23 South area. Commissioners are also researching when terms begin and end.
* Heard performance reports from Eureka Springs for the month of April. There were 49 calls. Of those, Holiday Island had 28 (Deaton, however, said there were really 39 calls, which were not in the performance reports because an ambulance was not called); Hwy. 62 East had eight; Grassy Knob, Inspiration Point and Hwy. 23 South each had four; Hwy. 62 West had one; and Hwy. 23 North had none. There were six arrivals over 15 minutes: three due to distance and three due to being out of area.
The next WCCAD meeting will be June 19 at 4 p.m. at the Holiday Island district office. The public is invited.