BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – Lee County is now $1 million into owning their own ambulance service.
The Lee County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved spending $1,089,339 on six brand new ambulances from North Central Emergency Vehicles.
Dennis Cosby, the county’s EMS director, said the purchase also includes some equipment that the county is not intending to purchase from the current provider, Lee County EMS Ambulance Inc.
“In the proposal, I built in all the equipment that needed to be added that we won’t be purchasing from the current provider,” Cosby said.
North Central Emergency Vehicles won the bid for three Type 2 ambulances and three Type 3 ambulances with prices of $115,838 and $176,843 comparatively for a total of $878,043. The additional $211,296 is for additional equipment purchases. Type 2 ambulances are built more for transfers, while the Type 3 are full-service trauma units.
‘Last meeting we opened bids and it was a pleasant surprise,” Fedler said. “I anticipated it being much higher considering the bids we got for putting remounts on the older vehicles.”
Cosby said with the approval of the purchase, the orders can be placed and North Central said they should have the ambulances ready and delivered by the July 1, 2021 takeover.
“If they were to encounter any delays they said they would be able to provide loaner vehicles to make sure we are ready to go,” Cosby said.
Fedler said things have been going very smoothly in taking over the service.
“I see a very smooth transition coming forward and from this day until the end of June, we’re working hard to make sure we have an ambulance service provided by the county, and not a private service, so we don’t have to worry about contract issues every year or two,” Fedler said.
The county’s subsidy to Lee County EMS Ambulance was close to $900,000 in fiscal year 2021. But that contribution almost doubled from the $421,000 it had pledged in the previous year.
“Right now the county is subsidizing the service by $900,000 so this isn’t much more than we’re already paying and we’ll have reliable equipment,” Fedler said.
“It’s a win-win for the county.”