JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's a service that can be the difference between life and death. And now the company that operates ambulances in Jackson County could change at the end of the year.
The county currently has a contract with Acadian Ambulance, but that contract expires in November. The county's Board of Supervisors is now exploring rebidding the service. One option is a notice of request for proposals for ambulance services, known as an RFP.
"Someone could make a motion that we retain the one that the contract is made with, regardless of what it is," explained Board President Melton Harris Jr. "And then, of course, it could be let's go out on RFP and see what's out there. Can we save money? Can we save some work?"
The county asked Emergency Service Director Earl Etheridge to draft the RFP. Approval of the RFP was suppose to be voted on during Monday's supervisors' meeting, but after much discussion, it was tabled - pending more information.
"Instead of sending out a faulty document, I asked our board to pull it today to give legal time to research it. And then once we get all the questions answered, then we can redo the RFP," said Etheridge.
Of the cities in the county, Gautier is making the biggest push for rebidding. In a 17 page letter to the board and Acadian Ambulance, Gautier city leaders outlined the concerns they have moving forward with the ambulance service contract.
"Number one, the EMS advisory board is not really active. The mutual aid agreement, we don't have one. So we're assuming none of the other cities have one. And also response times," said Gautier Mayor Gordon Gollott.
There was also a county wide issue with subsidies, but Acadian worked out an agreement to forgo that cost.
Arcadian has been the ambulance provider in the county for more than 16 years. Those who support the RFP say they just want to make sure residents are receiving the best service.