Gulfport wants progress in county ambulance contract talks

Gulfport wants progress in county ambulance contract talks

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A hand delivered letter to the Harrison County Board of Supervisors from the City of Gulfport appeals to the board to move forward with a review of the county's contract with AMR to provide ambulance services.

Gulfport wants the county to consider all possible proposals.

Harrison County has a contract with AMR to provide ambulance service through the end of the year. All five cities in the county are part of what's called an inter-local cooperation agreement.

Gulfport is asking the county to evaluate AMR's service and qualifications.

"It's been a discussion I've been having since I came into office about making sure we're getting the best deal for our dollar. It's not about this current contract or the current vendor, AMR. It's something that should apply to any public contracts that we have. There should not be an automatic renewal," said Mayor Billy Hewes.

Supervisor Beverly Martin says the board will conduct a fact finding mission to make sure the contract with AMR is in the best interest of taxpayers. She was surprised by Gulfport's letter demanding a decision by Aug. 15.

"We have to do due diligence. We owe that to the people of Harrison County. Let's make sure we get the best deal and not make a hasty decision. We felt this decision was hasty. We had no time to review anything," Martin said.

In 2015, AMR's performance and response time came under review. The company defended its record, and Harrison County inked a one-year contract with AMR.

Gulfport wants to make sure its residents are receiving the best possible deal and that the county put the contract out for bids.

"There have been issues raised about the quality and level of service. The fact of the matter is, regardless of who is doing it, even if they're doing a fantastic job, we need to put this out," said Hewes.

In the letter, Hewes said Gulfport would rather be part of a countywide agreement, but is prepared to look into pursuing its own ambulance service.

"If they feel they need to go out and get their own bid, that's their prerogative," Martin said.

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