Council defers ambulance decision

Published 10:55 pm Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Brundidge City Council voted Tuesday to allocate $75,000 in match money for a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant but could not come to a decision as to which ambulance provider proposal to support.

The FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant will fund $225,000 of the $300,000 necessary to build three Safe Houses that will provide shelter during severe weather conditions. The city will chip in the $75,000 match.

Britt Thomas, city manager, said potential sites for the safe houses or rooms will be at Pike County Elementary School, Pike County High School and Galloway Park. The city will have to request permission from the Pike County School System to locate the safe rooms on school property. No request has been made to the school system.

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Capacity occupancy for each house or room is 100 and Councilman Lawrence Bowden asked how it would be determined which 100 people would be allowed in the safe havens.

Thomas said the safe houses are for use primarily in or around mobile home parks or other areas at high risk from severe weather.

Bowden made the motion to accept the grant award.

“Just because you can’t protect everybody that doesn’t mean you can’t protect anybody,” he said.

The council also discussed the ambulance contract. Pike County’s current ambulance provider contract with CARE Ambulance Service expires at midnight Dec. 13, 2011. The Pike County Commission and the city councils of Troy and Brundidge will decide which competing ambulance service provider will be awarded the contract.

The Brundidge City Council evaluated the major points of the provider proposals from Care and Haynes ambulance services. The rate schedules were balanced with one service being higher for one service and lower for another. Haynes had the lower per mileage rate at $9 compared to $10 for Care.

A noticeable difference was that the Haynes’ proposal included one unit to be located in Brundidge 24 hours-seven days a week. The Care proposal would station one unit in Brundidge only during peak time. The City of Brundidge will have to provide a base of operations for the provider.

Council member Cynthia Pearson suggested that the city’s mini-courthouse on South Main Street would be an ideal base of operations for the ambulance provider.

The building is used only one day a week and has a parking lot large enough to accommodate the emergency vehicles.

After some discussion, the council decided that there was little or no difference in the quality of service between Care and Haynes. The council agreed to leave the decision of the ambulance provider to the county.

The council voted to amend the budget in order to purchase a new police vehicle off the state bid list. Thomas said the city has had no luck purchasing used vehicles for the police department and a new vehicle is the better way to go.

Thomas’ recommendation to the council was not to participate in a Federal program that has allocated $2.9 million for parking facilities for tractor-trailer trucks.

“Only 12 awards of about $300,000 each will be made and it would cost about a million dollars to build the kind of parking facility that we would need,” Thomas said. “Unless the council is willing to put $700,000 in the project, it’s not worth the time and effort that it would take to make application.”

The Council accepted Thomas’ recommendation.

In other business, the council set a public hearing for the presentation of zoning regulations in the city’s recently completed Comprehensive Plan at 1p.m. Dec. 20 at Brundidge Station. The public is invited.

The Council voted to give city employees an additional half-day off for Christmas. The employees will receive a half-day off on the Friday before Christmas. The day after Christmas is an employee holiday.