City lowers required number of ambulances to be in service due to loss of service provider

By Gary Scott on June 26, 2018 at 9:19am

The city of Jacksonville took initial steps towards lowering the number of ambulances in service at last night’s city council meeting.

During the workshop session prior to last night’s city council meeting, City Attorney Dan Beard went over several items in his report, one of which dealt with amending Jacksonville’s Emergency Clause when it comes to the number of ambulances that the city currently can provide service for.

With America Ambulance no longer providing ambulance service in Jacksonville, that leaves Lifestar Ambulance as the city’s lone provider. Following some brief discussion in the workshop, aldermen then voted to approve the first reading of an ordinance to amend Chapter 31 of the city’s Emergency Clause, which deals with emergency vehicles.

Beard breaks down what occurred last night with that first reading, and why it’s necessary for the city council to make these changes.

“The ambulance ordinance currently requires a minimum of four ambulances in operation. That was taking into account the fact that we had two ambulance providers and each of them would have two ambulances. The previous ordinance, when we only had one provider, required three ambulances instead of four. It’s financially not feasible for one ambulance provider to have three fully-staffed ambulances on duty so to speak in the city. So we revised the ordinance, dropping the minimum requirement back to three ambulances,” Beard explains.

Despite Passavant Hospital having discontinued its hospital-based paramedic service on March 31, Beard says this amendment has less to do about Passavant and more to do with the fact that America Ambulance left town.

“Lifestar is the current provider. It wasn’t really affected by Passavant as much as it was with America Ambulance leaving town, giving up their franchise, and leaving only one ambulance provider,” says Beard.

Also at last night’s meeting, city council members discussed what direction the city wanted to go in regards to the deployment of small cell wireless facilities. These apparatuses can be attached to any pole within the city with the approval of the owner of the pole. However, if the council decided to pass an ordinance requiring the city’s approval prior to putting up these devices, they can do so. Beard says this discussion came up as a result of a piece of legislation passed at the state capitol.

After some lengthy discussion and some confusion, aldermen also decided to table a resolution in which the city would pledge support to the Downtown District to apply to become a part of the National Historic Register. Further discussions regarding this item are expected at the first city council meeting in July.