County hopes to purchase two new ambulances

Posted October 6, 2020 at 1:37 pm

The Clinton County ambulance service may have a couple of new ambulances in its fleet early next year following action taken by Clinton Fiscal Court at a special meeting last Thursday morning, October 1. All members were on hand for the 40 minute call session.

The court heard a presentation from DES Director Lucas Abner during the ambulance discussion, a subject that had been brought forth at the court’s September meeting.

Abner told the court that all but one of the current trucks in the fleet have over 200,000 miles on them and one is currently undergoing repairs.

Although he had no specific estimates or quotes from any companies, Abner said he had been checking prices on two types of ambulances, one type being a smaller truck with no outside compartments. These are used primarily for only BLS (Basic Life Support) transports, such as the local hospital to an out-of-town facility.

He told the court the smaller type ambulances, which he said many ambulance services did not recommend, would cost roughly $79 to $80,000.

He also discussed larger new trucks which could be remounted and completely furnished by a dealer with the box and other equipment to be installed locally, for approximately $100,000 per vehicle with a three year warranty

The DES director also said those larger trucks would have gas engines making them cheaper to maintain and repair.

With an added two new ambulances, it would make a total fleet of six at the ambulance service with Abner noting that “every truck in the building needs to be on 911 alert.”

Abner also fielded some questions from the magistrates about the vehicles, with magistrate Ray Marcum asking if the county needed six ambulances.

Abner basically noted the ambulance service could never have too many, saying if one broke down, they would be down to a minimum needed and with extra trucks, the service wouldn’t have to keep two vehicles running at the same time, all the time.

He also noted that at times, the hospital has up to five transports (to other hospitals) ready to go at any one given time.

Clinton County Judge/Executive Ricky Craig said he backed the DES Director’s recommendation and requested the court take action on advertising for bids for the ambulances.

Magistrate Terry Buster asked about the bidding process, with County Attorney Michael Rains recommending the court bid the truck and box in one bid specification.

Abner said after a bid is awarded to a company who sells the trucks, it would take “at least 90 days” for them to be delivered and ready for use.

Following the discussion and some additional questions by magistrates, Marcum made a motion to advertise for bids on two of the larger 4-wheel drive remount ambulances. The motion was seconded by magistrate Mickey Riddle and passed by unanimous vote.

The ambulance purchases will apparently be made with funds awarded through the federal Cares Act in relation to aiding local governments through the COVID-19 pandemic.

County Attorney Michael Rains also discussed an interlocal agreement presented by the school board, requesting the agreement between the school district, city and county, to assist in providing law enforcement for the schools.

The school district, since last year, terminated its agreement with the sheriff’s office which had supplied an SRO, and apparently employed their own.

Some magistrates questioned the need for such an interlocal agreement, since law enforcement agencies, both city and county, have the authority to protect schools anyway.

The court opted to have the county attorney look into the agreement further and took no action on the proposed agreement last week.

The court also decided to delay action on having an auction on county surplus property until early next spring, giving the county time to make a list of what exactly will be sold and the process to do it.

Items that will apparently be sold include older, unused road department equipment, out of service ambulances, and law enforcement vehicles.

The court also approved second and final reading of a fiscal year 2020-21 budget amendment and at the start of the meeting, approved, on separate motions five cash transfers.

The transfers approved are as follows: $12,700 from Occupational checking account to jail checking account; $36,500 from the federal checking account to the ambulance checking account; $4,200 from the ambulance checking account to the jail checking account; $23,650 from the ambulance checking account to the general checking account and $500 from the ambulance checking account to the DES checking account.

The next regular meeting of Clinton Fiscal Court will be held Thursday, October 15 at 5 p.m. at the courthouse. Due to continued COVID-19 safety restrictions, the meeting will be live streamed on the Clinton County Judge/Executive’s Facebook page.