AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Augusta - Richmond County Commissioners voted in favor of meeting with Gold Cross on Tuesday to see if a deal can be worked out. The city says it wants control of the ambulance zone so it can be held accountable for response times.
It was a 7 to 3 vote to at least sit down at the table, but Commissioners still have different feelings on whether they want to partner with Gold Cross or pursue the EMS Zone again.
“All we’re doing is trying to have a conversation with them. The cards were dealt, we shouldn’t continue to fight for the zone. We’re not ready for the zone,” says Commissioner Sean Frantom.
“I want to see options. I know there’s been some messes in the past but moving forward we’ve got to do this right,” says Commissioner Mary Davis.
This was a very much intense debate from all over. Mayor Hardie Davis says Gold Cross had a prior deal from the city they chose not to accept. Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle says that’s because it wasn’t a deal that was fairly negotiated. “When you cut a company’s subsidy by 65% and ask them to increase the amount of ambulances to shorten the response time, it’s not affordable,” he says.
The Mayor says he is in support of the city pursuing the zone. He spoke today from experience. He says his son had to wait at least 20 minutes for an ambulance from Gold Cross to arrive.
“People do not care whether its Gold Cross, Priority Care, Capital City, South Star. But when I dial 911, you better show up and I don’t care where you come from,” says Mayor Davis.
Going forward, there's going to be a special body that will meet with Gold Cross. There's no telling if anything will come from it besides conversation.
“I think being able to sit down with them and actually talk to them face to face and explain our point of view, they’ll hopefully come to a better understanding of where we’re coming from.” Elected leaders, including the mayor, and other city staff members will be a part of the special group meeting with Gold Cross," says Steven Vincent, Chief Operating Officer for Gold Cross.