BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – The committee overseeing the transition of the Lee County EMS services to county ownership is proposing to buy six new ambulances in the next six months.
After Tuesday’s regular Lee County Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Dennis Cosby, the director of the new ambulance service, said the committee is looking at purchasing three Type 3 ambulances, and three Type 2 ambulances prior to the county taking over the service on July 1, 2021.
Type 3 ambulances are the full service vehicles that respond to medical calls. The Type 2 ambulances are smaller ambulance vans that are primarily used for transfers.
The cost of the six would be close to $800,000. The full-service type 3 units run between $157,000 and $160,000 a piece, while the smaller vehicles run between $94,000 and $95,000 each.
Initially the committee had looked into the cost of purchasing remounted ambulances, but Cosby said the cost to remount and the cost to purchase are closer than he expected.
“When we originally started looking at that, we thought those remount numbers would come in a little lower, but after discussing it with two of the three vendors, they both recommended that for $17K per unit, if we buy new, we would be able to remount at least the large trucks (in the future).”
Cosby said purchasing the smaller units for transfers will help with several areas of the operational budget including keeping maintenance costs down, better fuel mileage and cheaper purchase price.
Lee County EMS is currently running with seven older fleet ambulances. Cosby said the new county operation will also need a minimum of six ambulances. However, he said they would eventually need to go to seven to keep one in maintenance rotations, but that could come down the road.
He said purchasing new would reduce the amount of time in maintenance so the fleet would be in good shape for several years.
The board agreed to put the item on the agenda for next weeks meeting to get approval to rebid for new equipment.