By Terry Schrimscher, For the Tribune
SPRINGVILLE – The Springville City Council voted against a resolution to adopt a lease agreement with Regional Paramedical Services (RPS) to acquire an ambulance for the city.
Fire Chief Richard Harvey presented the details of the lease in the work session prior to the meeting. RPS offered to lease a reserve ambulance to the city for $1 per year with the city assuming upkeep of the vehicle during the period of the lease.
“I’m not trying to get into the ambulance service where we’re transporting anybody and everybody,” Harvey said. “I am trying to have a tool in our toolbox so that if we have a critical patient, and there is a delay, we have to ability to pick that patient up, put them in an ambulance and transport them to the hospital.”
Council member Herbert Toles questioned the delays in ambulance services in a Council meeting in August.
“We’re having a problem getting an ambulance in when somebody gets sick,” said Toles. “It can take two or three hours.”
Harvey said the ambulance would only be used in specific, critical situations where a delay could be life-threatening. He estimated the city would only transport patients a few times a year. He attributed the delays to an increase in service calls and a lack of students training to be paramedics and said it was a problem statewide.
Mayor Dave Thomas stated in August he believed the city should purchase an ambulance to better serve Springville citizens. Prior to voting on the resolution, Thomas again expressed his support for providing critical ambulance services to Springville.
“When it comes down to the balance of a life, if it’s your neighbor, your friend, your family member or yourself that’s lying there, I think it’s priceless,” said Thomas. “I think it’s prudent on the part of our citizens,” he said, and encouraged members of the council to vote in favor of the resolution.
The lease would have allowed the city to take possession of a reserve ambulance from RPS to transport people in critical situations. The city currently contracts with RPS to provide ambulance service.
In the work session, several members of the council expressed concerns over the lease agreement and the liabilities assumed by the city operating an ambulance service. Council members also expressed concerns with the vehicle having nearly 400,000 miles on it.
After the resolution failed, Thomas commented to The Trussville Tribune on the path forward.
“I don’t know what the next step is other than to find an alternative proposal and try again,” Thomas said. “If our citizens have a need, it’s our responsibility to address that need.”
Thomas said he understood the council had concerns about liabilities and possible repair costs but added “that one life saved is more valuable.” He said Harvey will continue to look for grants and they hope they can find a proposal that works for everyone.
In other business, new council member Austin Phillips was given the oath of office at the start of the meeting. He was elected by the council last month to occupy the District 3 seat vacated by the death of long-serving member Wayne Tucker.
At the close of the meeting, Harvey presented the council with a request to purchase a new fire truck for the city. Harvey said the new truck would cost $788,060. The city purchased the same model truck in 2020 for $560,000.
Harvey presented the proposal as a proactive measure to address future needs. Delivery of a new fire truck, once purchased, could take up to three years. The council expects to make a decision at the next meeting on Feb. 20.
Additionally, the council approved the following:
- $6,475 to build a storage loft for use by the Springville Police department
- A resolution for the Alabama Department of Transportation to repave a portion of Highway 174
- A budget resolution shifting some fire personnel within the budget