Ambulance Council calls off meeting for Tuesday night

Statement says cancellation due to 'lack of information'

Chickasaw County’s ambulance odyssey just got weirder as the Ambulance Council cancelled its meeting that was scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday night.

The Ambulance Council released a terse statement that read:

“The Chickasaw County Ambulance Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 6:00 pm. has been CANCELLED due to lack of information needed for this meeting.
“The meeting will be rescheduled and an agenda will be posted.”

The Ambulance Council last week made an offer to Chickasaw Ambulance Service for a two-year contract, which ambulance service owner Jeremy McGrath said he would reject. After last week’s meeting, McGrath did hand out a proposal for a two-year contract, but because the meeting had been adjourned, no discussion was held.

The Ambulance Council has held multiple meetings in recent months in an attempt to secure a contract for ambulance service in the county.

The Chickasaw Ambulance Service opted out of its current five-year contract late last year, giving the council the required six-month notice.

The Ambulance Council put together a request for proposals and sought bids, but the Chickasaw Ambulance Service was the lone bidder. After a sub-committee negotiated changes to the service’s bid, the Ambulance Council rejected the reworked contract by a 5-3 vote during a meeting last month.

Since then, the Ambulance Council has met twice but has not come to an agreement with McGrath and his service or indicated if it will try to re-bid ambulance service.

As of now, the last day the county will have ambulance service in place is June 30.

Ambulance Council Chairman Steve Geerts said he and his fellow council members want the same thing residents who have turned out for meetings want.

“I’m concerned, and I have been since Day 1 when Jeremy backed out of the contract,” he said. “I woke up at 4 this morning, and I couldn’t get back to sleep because all I could think about was this and that’s happened a lot. It’s not just me, it’s that way for all of us. … People who say we don’t care, that’s [bullcrap]. We care.”

Geerts said he didn’t expect the Ambulance Council to meet this week, but he also said, contrary to rumors in the community Tuesday morning, that “nothing has been decided. We’re working to make sure we can get something to the Board of Supervisors as soon as possible.”

In the end, it is the supervisors who will ultimately decide to approve a final contract, because the Ambulance Council does not have any funding streams to pay a provider for ambulance service.

— For more on this story, refer back to nhtrib.com and see the May 28 Tribune

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