Hamburg City Council voted to present an intergovernmental agreement to Ashley County Quorum Court involving the ambulance service in the area and if the county doesn’t agree there may be parts of the area that aren’t serviced.
The citizens of Hamburg passed a sales tax in 2018 to fund an ambulance service after the announcement that Ashley County Medical Center would no longer subsidize FAST Ambulance, the company that was servicing Hamburg and surrounding areas at the time.
According to Mayor Dane Weindorf, Pro-Med, the company that was awarded the ambulance contract after the tax election, gave the city of Hamburg two different bid totals.
Weindorf said that Pro-Med bid approximately $20,000 to offer ambulance service to the city of Hamburg only and that a second bid noted there would be an approximate $3,000 difference if those services were contracted outside of the city limits.
Since the start of the contract, Hamburg has been paying the full contract amount including the additional $3,000 for the county service.
“It’s something that’s really kind of hard for me to talk about because we worked so hard the city council, the citizens of Ashley County and Hamburg worked so hard to get this ambulance service and we are still having trouble finding support from the county and the cities that we serve,” Weindorf said.
Paul Keith said during the council’s meeting last week, that data provided by Ken Kelley with Pro-Med Ambulance showed that 48 percent of the ambulance runs made during the last reporting period were in the county.
The resolution passed by Hamburg’s council states that if the county and city cannot reach an agreement by July 1, Pro-Med’s contract with Hamburg will be modified to only provide for emergency medical transport by Pro-Med within the city limits of Hamburg.
The city’s attorney, Paul Keith, said that Hamburg would pay the full $20,000 and not ask that Portland, Fountain Hill or some of the other small towns contribute to the $20,000, therefore the county could solicit funds from those smaller towns to make up all or part of the $3,000 if they so choose.
Weindorf said that in addition to the contract amount that Pro-Med charges, the city of Hamburg is also responsible for housing the ambulances and the cost and utilities associated with that as well. Right now the city of Hamburg is paying rent to house the ambulances until the new fire station building is available.
Keith said that if the county agrees to contribute the contract difference of $3,000 the current contract with Pro-Med to serve all of Ashley County that isn’t served by the Crossett Fire Department will continue. However, if the agreement is not signed, then the contract will be modified as of July 1.
Weindorf said he would present the agreement to the county and report back next month.
“I’ll report back next month how this goes, but we don’t have a choice,” Weindorf said.
The mayor also announced that there is a surplus of dirt that has been removed from Norman Park as a result of construction. The dirt is available to any Hamburg resident who wants to pick it up, or residents may contact city hall and have dirt delivered to them for a $25 delivery fee. Residents may contact city hall to find out where to pick up the dirt if they do not wish to pay a delivery fee.
The city of Hamburg is now online and offers online payment and billing options for city water services. Citizens may visit www.cityofhamburg.com to view information about their water bill and other important city information.
Ken Kelly reported that Pro Med has two 24-hour fully staffed ambulance teams up and running in Hamburg and provided data to the council regarding last month’s ambulance runs and finances. Kelly said things are going well and he is really pleased with the numbers.
The council voted to use approximately $30,000 from capital improvement funds to pay for the moving of the water lines on 425 South. The move is a result of the road construction in the area.
Recreational baseball and softball started in Norman Park on Monday night. The mayor said that the season would not have been possible without extra work from the softball and baseball leagues. “The city helped as much as they can but the softball and baseball associations really led the way,” Weindorf said. The mayor said multiple volunteers assisted with preparing the parks because the rain halted the construction work in the area. “The season is going to be short, but they are going to have a season,” Weindorf said. “Next year this will all be history and we will be in good shape, God’s got a reason for all this rain,” Weindorf said.
The new fire station construction is expected to be completed in late May pending weather delays. Weindorf said that he doesn’t know exactly when the new station will be open and running as it will take a couple of weeks to get moved in and get everything switched over.