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UPDATE: Richmond County approves keeping Gold Cross month-to-month

January 25th, 2:34 PM EST
Updated:

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - UPDATE: The Augusta-Richmond County Commission has voted to temporarily keep Gold Cross ambulance service in the county, pending legal approval.

Mayor Garnett Johnson said during Wednesday's emergency meeting that Georgia is preparing to step in and provide temporary ambulance service and the Augusta procurement department has been directed to start compiling a list of possible providers. Additionally, he said he would like to reach out to Gold Cross and ask them to operate on a month-to-month basis.

Gold Cross Vice President Steven Vincent spoke during the meeting, saying they have already surrendered the zone and that, by law, there is not enough time to legally come back to the negotiation table.

After more than an hour of back-and-forth discussion, the Commission recessed for Vincent, City Procurement Director, and City Administrator to discuss a possible contract. After the recess, the City Procurement Director announced that they had come to terms on a month-to-month contract, pending approval by the city's legal department and the State. The contract would expire once the State designated a new EMS zone provider. The contract would cost the city $250,000 for the first month and $150,000 per month after that. She then stated the Commission would need to approve the contract and, separately, approve the desire for the City to apply for the zone.

The Commission then held a vote. The motion to keep Gold Cross on a month-to-month basis passed unanimously. A second motion for the City of Augusta to pursue obtaining the EMS zone also passed unanimously.

COMMISSIONERS LIKE ALVIN MASON SEE IT AS A TEMPORARY FIX WITH THE SAME TERMS AS BEFORE. “IT’S A SHORT-TERM FIX," HE SAYS. "I’M HOPING WE CAN DO BETTER FROM A LONG-TERM PERSPECTIVE BECAUSE WHAT WAS IN CONTENTION BEFORE. PEOPLE WERE SAYING THEY DIDN’T SEE A CONTRACT, THEY HADN’T SAW IT. BUT, WE JUST VOTED ON A CONTRACT WE DIDN’T SEE AND SO THERE’S NO DIFFERENCE.” DESPITE THIS, HE VOTED IN FAVOR TO ENSURE CITIZENS DO NOT GO WITHOUT.

cOMMISSIONER JORDAN JOHNSON BELIEVES THE NEW DEAL MEANS AN EASY TRANSITION TO A NEW PROVIDER. “THE DOLLAR AMOUNT WE AGREED TO IS GOING TO BE A DOLLAR AMOUNT THAT WILL HELP US GET TO A BETTER PLACE HERE," SAYS jOHNSON. "AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE’RE GONNA MAKE SURE THAT IF SOMEONE NEEDS AMBULATORY CARE, THEY RECEIVE THAT AMBULATORY CARE. THE ONLY THING WE’VE BEEN ASKING FOR IS A CONVERSATION AND THAT HAPPENED TODAY.”

iF THEY CONTINUE SERVICE WITH gOLD CROSS FOR ONE YEAR, THE CONTRACT WILL COME OUT TO AROUND $1.9 MILLION ANNUALLY, THE SAME AMOUNT AS THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT.

STEVEN VINCENT, VICE PRESIDENT OF GOLD CROSS EMS SAYS HE DID IT FOR THE PEOPLE. “WE HAD ALREADY PREPARED TO EXIT AUGUSTA. THEY REACHED OUT TO US TODAY, A PART OF THIS DECISION IS TO CONTINUE HELPING THE CITIZENS OF AUGUSTA. WE’VE BEEN HERE FOR CLOSE TO 17 YEARS TAKING CARE OF THE CITIZENS AND THEY ASKED US TO PLEASE STAY AND HELP FOR A LITTLE LONGER.”

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The City of Augusta is holding another special called meeting to discuss the ongoing situation with Gold Cross EMS.

The meeting is set to be held Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. You can watch it live below.

 

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle and Mayor Pro-tem Brandon Garrett spoke exclusively with FOX54 before the meeting.

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