Originally created 04/02/97

Ambulance pact nears agreement



Columbia County Commissioners voted Tuesday to begin final contract negotiations with Atlanta South Ambulance Inc. to take over the county's emergency ambulance service.

After months of study and debate to make the ambulance service more cost-effective, the Atlanta-based company was recommended after a meeting Monday.

Officials say contracting with Atlanta South will save more than $2 million over the next four years. The county provides about an $800,000-a-year subsidy for county-run ambulance service.

In its proposal, Atlanta South will offer jobs to current county emergency medical services employees.

If commissioners approve a final contract at their next meeting on April 15, Atlanta South could take over operations April 28.

Commissioner Diane Ford cast the only dissenting vote Tuesday against entering final negotiations with Atlanta South.

Atlanta South got the nod over proposals from Rural/Metro Ambulance, which recently took over ambulance service in Richmond County, and the county Emergency Medical Services department.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners offered James Leiper, an engineer with Richmond County, the position of director of engineering and environmental services.

The position has been open since Feb. 1 when commissioners did not renew the contract of then-director, Scott Godefroy, who had been with the county since 1990.

If he accepts the offer, Mr. Leiper will make $64,000 a year in base salary plus $385 a month for car expenses.

Mr. Leiper has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a master's in environmental engineering.