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Saratoga Springs City Council hears EMS bid

"We have a proven record for success," Brandt said, before reminding council members and the public that Mohawk is the preferred ambulance service of the New York Racing Association during the Saratoga track season, as well as during concert events at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Both Mohawk and Empire presented a plan to maintain 24/7 dispatch service, and Mohawk promised to have a minimum of two dispatchers by the phone at one time.

Aside from claiming to be "the largest provider [of EMS] in the Capital Region," Brandt also presented an offer for Mohawk to buy SEMS' equipment at fair market value should they not be chosen for the bid.

While SEMS does have a history with the town, its existence is at stake, Miller explained, with the entire requests for proposal process.

"The income derived from choosing one of the other bids is approximately 0.5 percent of the city's 2009 budget," Miller said during the presentation. "Is that enough to offset the loss of more than 30 jobs and the loss of a not-for-profit agency which has served the city for 40 years?"

Miller said SEMS can't compete, as a not-for-profit, with the for-profit agencies that presented their proposals that night, but that, "Our ambulances say 'Saratoga' on their sides, not a corporate entity."

While Kim said he understands SEMS has been servicing the city for the past number of years, "We can't not look at this."

Kim would not comment on whether he was in favor of SEMS continuing service for the City of Saratoga Springs, but he did say, "I have, in the past, bid out the same contracts, but it's also important to know what's out there in the market."

When asked if the main concern with this issue was the money, Kim responded that the other primary issue is the ALS, but that the city now knows one company is willing to pay $100,000 rent.

"This is real money," he said.

Kim said there is no timetable for when a decision needs to be made on which EMS company will service the town. But as the employees of SEMS await a decision on their company's fate, Miller wanted to remind council members and the public that, "If SEMS goes away, it can't come back.""

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