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Augusta Commission votes to renegotiate ambulance contract with Gold Cross

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The Augusta Commission on Tuesday reversed course on emergency medical service in the city, voting 6-4 to suspend a request for proposals from ambulance firms and instead having the city administrator try to renegotiate a deal with current provider Gold Cross.

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Augusta Commissioner Alvin Mason pauses and looks down after sharing his explanation for how he voted concerning  the Skittelz night club during a commission meeting at the municipal building off Greene Street on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. Sara Caldwell/staff  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Augusta Commissioner Alvin Mason pauses and looks down after sharing his explanation for how he voted concerning the Skittelz night club during a commission meeting at the municipal building off Greene Street on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. Sara Caldwell/staff

Commissioner Bill Lock­ett opposed the measure and said the body previously had voted unanimously to re-examine all city contracts worth more than $1 million.

“What we’re trying to do is look at what’s in the best interest of the community,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson and Commissioners Bill Fennoy and Alvin Mason also opposed the move, which Commissioner Marion Williams has been pushing for weeks.

The decision to seek ambulance proposals from other providers came at the urging of Fire Chief Chris James, who argued that the existing, self-renewing contract with Gold Cross was too vague and gave the city no way to verify service levels.

Commissioners who have favored suspending the “request for proposals” have said they weren’t aware of any complaints about Gold Cross’ service in Augusta.

The Martinez-based firm serves both Richmond and Columbia counties, and was granted a problematic “co-zone” designation, along with Augusta, by the area EMS council a few years ago.

Gold Cross CEO Vince Brogdon said he expected to reach an agreement with City Administrator Fred Russell on a contract he hoped would provide for a new EMS board to oversee operations.

“Ultimately, what we want to do is get an EMS board where we’re not reporting to one person; we’re reporting to a group of people,” Brogdon said.

In other action Tuesday, the Augusta Commission:

• Suspended for 90 days the license of Skittlez, a Gordon Highway nightclub caught holding an illegal adult show with a minor present. The suspension, which a committee recommended be only 30 days, passed 6-4, with Fennoy, Johnson, Lockett and Williams opposed. Commissioner Donnie Smith, who supported the 90-day suspension, said the gay club had violated “rules of decency in this society” for “an extended period of time.”

• Approved $300,000 to advance preparation of a proposal to
convert two old textile mills and other existing city structures into a “mills campus” and “cultural campus” for expanding Georgia Regents University. The funding
will not come from city taxes but
instead from a new solar power facility in the works by the mills, according to Augusta Regional Collaboration Project Director Matt Kwatinetz.

• Voted 6-4 to lease a riverfront tract to Savannah Riverkeeper for 100 years on a motion from Commissioner Joe Jackson. Initially opposed to a 50-year lease, Jackson said, “If it’s that sweet a deal” he’d recommend 100 years, and his motion passed.

• Approved a handful of adjustments to the city’s new solid-waste contract requested by Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle to address the needs of rural areas.

Comments (11) Add comment
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nocnoc
42778
Points
nocnoc 06/05/13 - 05:52 am
1
0
Renegotiate ambulance

Renegotiate ambulance contract?
We have too much renegotiating going on and too many vendors intertwining themselves deeper into government.

Why not RE-BID it ?
Every time a sizable contract expires put out an RFP?
This way there are NO Good Old Boy plus plus plus clicks that automatically cost taxpayers more money every few years.

It keeps the contracted vendor under control and constantly trying hard to deliver better.

Brad Owens
4455
Points
Brad Owens 06/05/13 - 08:13 am
0
0
This is another example...

This contract needs to put out for bid.

Brad

Little Old Lady
5965
Points
Little Old Lady 06/05/13 - 08:20 am
0
0
Garbage Collection

Monday was the first day of the new garbage collection. The person on the new recycle collection truck informed me and my neighbors that the small recycle bins we currently have cannot be emptied into the new truck. We would have to request a large 96 gallon recycle can. All of the 134 houses in this neighborhood will have to get new recycle cans as well as the entire county. All of the recycle items on Monday went into the garbage cans. Did the commission not know that everyone will need a new large blue top recycle can? How much will this cost the county?

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 06/05/13 - 09:50 am
0
0
90 day suspension...only 90
Unpublished

90 day suspension...only 90 days??? me oh may what will the fags and homo's do for the next 3 months..well i guess the "homo-thugs" can go to the fag bar on walton way......

dichotomy
33082
Points
dichotomy 06/05/13 - 10:36 am
0
0
I agree with Brad. This

I agree with Brad. This contract needs to be put out for bid. I do not have a warm fuzzy that we have adequate numbers of ambulances available and I also do not have a warm fuzzy that we have state of the art EMS vehicles with highly trained EMS technicians whose only concern is the well being of the patient. And I, personally, think that any company that is given what is essentially a government sanctioned monopoly should be REQUIRED to accept insurance as payment. That should be in the contract.

texsmoke
139
Points
texsmoke 06/05/13 - 06:18 pm
1
0
Here we go

First off they are going to renegotiate. Chris James whined about number of ambulances but didnt even make that a requirement in the bid. When you have AN EMERGENCY company with zero complaints why not negotiate. Gold Cross has some of the best equipment on the country. Let the insurance thing GO. Ask any ambulance service. They file any and ALL INSURANCES. The problem is insurance companies deny claims if they feel the patient could have driven themselves. This is not Gold Cross or any other local service fault. Go to Atlanta and get a bill 2-3 times what you get in Augusta. Let them negotiate a good contract because taking chances on EMS is not smart when what you have works.

nocnoc
42778
Points
nocnoc 06/12/13 - 07:35 am
1
0
Deleted a comment that got

Deleted a comment that got misplaced somehow by me?

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 06/05/13 - 07:38 pm
0
0
Thanks for the comment texsmoke!

I knew all of the talk about Gold Cross not accepting insurance was bunk!

Brad Owens
4455
Points
Brad Owens 06/05/13 - 08:45 pm
0
0
Gold Cross costs..

texsmoke,

Why does this cost us $1,000,000.00 a year? This contract may have no complaints (that we know of) but it bilks the taxpayer and is poorly written. So the way we will decide which one-sided taxpayer robbing contracts we allow or disallow to take our tax dollars is based on the number of complaints the service receives?

Ludacris. This contract is a travesty and has been for years. The RFP should be released and let the chips fall where they may.

I am NEVER afraid of an open and fair bid process, why are you all I wonder?

Brad

texsmoke
139
Points
texsmoke 06/05/13 - 10:24 pm
1
0
Brad

You read the rfp the chief put out. No one would have bid. His cockiness even made it a requirement ambulance put "we support Augusta Fire" on their rigs

texsmoke
139
Points
texsmoke 06/05/13 - 10:24 pm
0
0
Brad

You read the rfp the chief put out. No one would have bid. His cockiness even made it a requirement ambulance put "we support Augusta Fire" on their rigs

PBrig822
64
Points
PBrig822 06/06/13 - 04:19 pm
0
0
GoldCross ambulances are state of the art

Compair the local ambulance services trucks. GoldCross buys brand new from the factory not ebay or govdeals. GoldCross has the Stryker power lifts in all their 911 trucks to decrease back injuries and assist with loading today's average patient. GoldCross has Lucas devices that provide adquite CPR in the event. GoldCross has all of the new top of the line stuff. For 1000000 a year that GoldCross get you are getting a good deal no other service could even compair with the same or better services. And as for insurance deal you can thank obamacare that's not GoldCross.

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