YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – City council voted down a proposal to amend a contract between American Medical Response and the city of Youngstown that would pay the ambulance company more than half a million dollars.
The city of Youngstown currently has an agreement with AMR through the end of the year. But, the amendment would have paid the company an additional $625,000 to “ensure continued EMS and ambulance services” for the city.
Council voted Monday, with all members voting no, except 3rd Ward Councilwoman Samantha Turner.
“I do trust my fire chief and the work that he’s done, working us alongside AMR to work the numbers and figure out what we needed to do,” Turner said.
Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Ray says the door is not completely shut, there are just some details that need to be worked out first.
“What we see in front of us doesn’t make sense to pass at this point, so we definitely wanna continue the conversation,” Ray said.
First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver says he needs to see better service before he would feel comfortable providing a subsidy.
“If you feel like, in my opinion, that these people aren’t worth doing your best to go and save their lives, or to meet them at an emergency, why am I subsidizing you?” Oliver said.
The city entered into a professional service agreement with AMR in 2015 and the agreement expires in December of this year. The proposed amendment would also expire in December.
If passed, the following changes would have been made:
- The city would have paid AMR $62,500 each month from March through December. The money would have come from American Rescue Plan funds.
- Code 3 response times would be changed to 9 minutes.
- The agreement would change from having three ambulances to four.
Turner said the goal of the amendment wasn’t solely to alter the current agreement, but to also look at possibilities beyond services from AMR.
“I think the due diligence that the administration has done, headed up by our fire chief, has been great, but the request also alongside this was for the administration to go out as well, and bring back an RFP, looking at other organizations and then also bring us back return on investment. What this would look like if we stood up our own ambulance services,” Turner said.
Oliver said he agrees that the door is not shut on the possibility of the subsidy, but he wants to see changes.
“Let this time of when we say no be your time of where you prove to us that you can do better, then maybe we can think about giving you a subsidy, or if it remains the same when your contract is up, we gotta get another company,” he said.