The City of Augusta is working to decide whether or not it should renew its contract with Gold Cross EMS. (WRDW-TV)
News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Some city leaders want to reopen the bid process for the ambulance service. Gold Cross has met its contract guidelines, but some say the city's needs have changed.
"It's basically all about the people. It's all about the people. It's nothing other than allowing us to provide better service," said Augusta Fire Chief Chris James.
James is talking about a better deal for taxpayers. Gold Cross EMS service is coming up for renewal and some want to change directions.
"What I'm hoping is that the contract process will be open and the city goes through the bid process again," James said.
One thing city leaders want the new contract to include is a minimum number of available ambulances. The Fire Department wants more oversight to make sure the company is arriving on time. They also want heart attacks, strokes and other life-threatening conditions written in as a "priority" one call.
"In other words, we will be able to make sure that the citizens are getting what they're paying for," James said.
"I know what they charge me," said Michael Hutchinson, who recently had a heart attack.
Gold Cross charged him $900 for a 9-mile ride.
Hutchinson says if city leaders redo the contract, it would possibly mean lower prices for people who might have an emergency.
"You have a gas station on this corner and one on that corner. They both have to drop the price," he said.
The city has less than 90 days to let Gold Cross administrators know if they're fired. Gold Cross must receive a 9-month notice. The full commission will take up the issue next week.