Gulfport city council holds special meeting to discuss future of city’s ambulance service

Councilman Myles Sharp brought the item to the attention of the council and led the discussion.

The future of Gulfport's city ambulance service

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Gulfport’s city council met Tuesday to discuss what Councilman Sharp called a time-sensitive topic. Harrison County has approved the upcoming American Medical Response contract, but Sharp is concerned.

Gulfport city council holds special meeting to discuss future of city’s ambulance service
Gulfport city council holds special meeting to discuss future of city’s ambulance service (Source: Photo WLOX)

“We have been working with AMR to address some concerns we have about how response times are calculated under the contract, and in the city of Gulfport and whether those response times are sufficient for the needs of our citizens," said Councilman Sharp.

Not letting time slip away was the main reason that Sharp brought this before the council.

“My concern in bringing that to the council today, despite AMR being very willing to work on trying to come up with a plan to address those issues, was not letting the clock run out on our ability to get out of the contract should we ultimately determine that is necessary," Sharp told WLOX.

Gulfport city council holds special meeting to discuss future of city’s ambulance service
Gulfport city council holds special meeting to discuss future of city’s ambulance service (Source: Photo WLOX)

Not all members of the council are as eager as Sharp to consider other options.

“It is important to understand that the AMR contract is a very good contract, and I, for one, will vote to stay with AMR," said Councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines.

She feels the contract is about more than the services that AMR offers and a change could do more harm than good.

“You have to understand, AMR helps us tremendously with supplies and with medical,” said Holmes-Hines. “I understand that there is a group of people, the main ones to consider a change, but that’s not how you do it. Because, the only way you can get out of a contract is going to be on a negative approach.”

Gulfport city council holds special meeting to discuss future of city’s ambulance service
Gulfport city council holds special meeting to discuss future of city’s ambulance service (Source: Photo WLOX)

A vote on the matter, despite Tuesday’s executive session, will take more time.

“No such decisions have been made at this point," said Councilman Sharp. "I just wanted to pose some issues to our legal council to have them get back with some answers for us on that.”

Sharp said AMR is and has been operating within the terms of the contract. He feels that those terms are written in favor of AMR and not the people of Gulfport.

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