Bob Shiles Staff writer
November 3, 2013
LUMBERTON — County Commissioner Hubert Sealey is uncertain if he will join other commissioners on Monday and vote in favor of extending the contract of MED1, the county’s current provider of non-emergency convalescent ambulance services.
Last month ,Sealey voted against extending the company’s contract by two years, urging that the county itself look more closely at providing the non-emergency ambulance or consider rebidding the contract that runs out in June.
“I didn’t vote against the contract because I thought the county could afford to provide the service,” Sealey said. “I voted against approving the contract because I feel if we are not going to provide the service ourselves, we should go out and rebid the contract.”
Sealey said that putting the contract out to bid again may save the county money in the long run.
“It makes sense to me that we should save every dollar we can. I can’t understand just giving away such a large contract,” Sealey said. “What would it hurt by putting the contract back out for bid? If we don’t put contract out again for bid we won’t know what is out there … We might find there is more interest than we think. We may be able to get a little bit better of a deal.”
A vote on extending the contract has to be taken again Monday because a unanimous vote was needed to approve the contract on the first reading. At Monday’s meeting only a majority of the eight-member board must vote in favor of the contract for it to be extended.
At last month’s meeting, Greg Bounds, director of the county’s Emergency Medical Services, told the commissioners that with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, he does not feel the time is right to expand services provided by the county.
Bounds told the commissioners that MED1 has done a good job since July 2012, when it took over the county’s non-emergency convalescent ambulance services from American Medical Response, a national company that held a contract with the county for 13 years.
“I’ve had no trouble. They have met (requirements) of their contract,” he said.
In other business, the commissioners will:
— Hold a public hearing on a request for the Southeast Area Transit System to apply for Community Transportation Program funding. The requested grant is for $280,909, with the local share being $38,090.
— Consider conditional-use permits for American Towers LLC to establish telecommunications towers on property located in Whitehouse and Gaddys townships.
— Consider a proposal from the N.C. Department of Transportation to acquire right-of-way for improvements of a bridge located on Leesville Street and Happy Hill Road.
— Consider a conditional-use permit request from Phillip and Amy Locklear, of Union Township, to allow for the establishment of a photography studio on .89 acres in a Residential Agricultural District.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the commissioners’ room of the county administration building on North Elm Street.