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Ambulance contract causes alarm

In front of a full house of citizens, commissioners discussed at their Tuesday, April 30 meeting the fact that the county’s ambulance service will be terminating the current contract and has offered three options for Pike. Several expressed their disapproval of the changes proposed by Grady EMS during the public forum prior to the start of the meeting. County manager Bobby Bickley said Pike is in a five year contract with Grady EMS that is renewable each year prior to July 1. He noted that the county now has two full time ambulances 24 hours a day, seven days a week and costs the county $250,000 each year. He said the reason contract changes were proposed were because of the number of calls during peak and non-peak times. He said they provided documentation that justified the reduction of a full-time ambulance to a part-time ambulance during non-peak hours (from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) without compromising services to citizens. The three offers by Grady EMS include one ALS transport ambulance 24 hours a day, seven days a week and one ALS transport ambulance for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for $250,000; one 24/7 ALS transport ambulance, one 12 hours, seven day ALS transport ambulance and one 12/7 quick response vehicle available at night when the 12-hour ambulance is off duty for $350,000; or two 24/7 ALS transport ambulances for $500,000. Bickley recommended selection of the first option which would include two ambulances during peak hours and one during non-peak hours. He noted Grady has an obligation to have an average response time of 12 minutes or below and has met those response times. He said if another ambulance is needed, the county has mutual aid agreements with Spalding, Lamar, Upson and Meriwether counties to provide the ambulance depending on where the need is. Commission chairman Briar Johnson asked what would happen if no action was taken at the meeting and Bickley said the county would probably be served a 60-day notification from Grady, at which time the county could re-bid the contract. Commissioner Tim Guy said he appreciates the service Grady has provided but thinks half a million dollars is too much and if re-bidded, the county may find a better cost for the service. Commissioners took no action on the issue at the meeting. Prior to Grady EMS, the county had an ambulance contract with Mid Georgia Ambulance for eight years at $395,000 per year. When commissioners voted in 2015 to go with Grady EMS, they agreed to a five-year, $275,000 renewable contract that would provide two ambulances in the county and one as a backup. The county also: ’¢ Heard that the Walking Dead film crew is looking to film a small segment at the Pike and Spalding county line on the bridge at Scotts Branch. Crews will film sometime between May 6 and May 16. The road would need to be closed from a half day to a full day. ’¢ Heard that culverts will need to be replaced on New Hebron and Bethany Church Roads due to recent heavy rains. ’¢ Appointed Patsy Page to fill an unexpired three year term on the J. Joel Edwards Public Library board, set to expire Aug. 31, 2021. ’¢ Approved a memorandum of agreement with Mike Powell of Family Connections to renew a one-year agreement to provide office space between Pike County 4-H and the Pike County Water Department. ’¢ Held a public hearing and approved a special exception request from owner Kris Cochran to operate an automotive repair shop within the Highway 41 Overlay District. ’¢ Held a public hearing and approved, with nine people speaking in favor, a request by owner JoAnn Matthews and applicant Shane Matthews to rezone a 2.55 acre portion of a six acre parent tract from A-R to C-2 to create a gymnastics school. ’¢ Approved advertisement for five board members to join the Joint Board of Elections and Registration. It was noted the board was approved at the state level and ow the county must create a new board prior to the July 1 effective date for the new legislation. The board will set up the county’s bylaws which will include staggered terms. ’¢ Discussed the possibility of a cell phone tower being placed at the end of Nixon Road.

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