County Commission to rebid ambulance service

Published 8:00 am Friday, January 26, 2024

The Lowndes County Commission met on Jan. 22 at the Charles Smith Annex to discuss topics which included commissioner concerns regarding the contract with Haynes Ambulance, the county’s current ambulance service provider. 

The county’s contract with Haynes went up for renewal in June and the Lowndes County Commission has been in consideration of renewal or opening the bid process to other suppliers. During the meeting, commissioners voted to approve placing the ambulance service contract up for bids.

When questioned by commissioners about whether or not it would be best to rebid with Haynes Ambulance, County Attorney Prince Chestnutt explained that he thought it would be best to rebid both contracts for the garbage and ambulance contract. 

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“The contract for the ambulance service provider did not have any language in it that allowed for an extension on it so a rebid would be best on that one,” Chestnutt said.

He also said that since the term has ended, there is no choice but to rebid.  

“Any organization that violates that contract could face a class C felony which merits a 2-20 year sentence upon conviction. The law has built in a pretty severe penalty for the violation of the contract with Haynes,” Chestnutt said. “Since the contract has run its course, you have to rebid it even if the pricing has changed. Even if you only get one bidder, there will be a chance to negotiate.”

Chestnutt provided commissioners with ample information for them to make a decision and before casting their votes, Commissioner Robert Harris suggested that there be a clause added into the contracts with these service providers. 

“We need to put some type of claw back agreement in these contracts with these companies because they are escaping and we are allowing them to hold us hostage and we’re paying them,” Harris said. “So, we need to make sure that we are doing that in each contract that we have.”

The Commission ended the topic with a decision to rebid with Haynes Ambulance Services. 

In other business, County Engineer David Butts brought forward an issue regarding a logger who was doing work and made a mess on the roads. 

“Commissioner [Charlie] King asked me to type up an invoice on what it took for equipment and labor to take care of [the road cleanup]. He also wanted me and the attorney to brainstorm a little to see if we could stop this from happening in the future,’ Butts said. 

King stated that he received numerous calls from Wednesday up until Friday about mud on the road. 

“I’m not sure if it was a result of the same person but on the other side of the road the same issue was brought up to me about seven months ago and this time it was on the left side of the road,” King said. “I understand that these people have to work and I’m not trying to stop them from working but at the same time they have to understand that they can’t just tear up the roads. I asked the attorney and engineer to come up with a plan for this. The engineer dispatched county workers out on Friday which is a day that they are off, and we came up with a cost of what it would take to get the road cleared up.” 

Commissioner King proposed that the invoice would go to the logger so that he would have to pay the cost that it took to get the road cleaned.  

Ultimately, after hearing from the logger who said that he was not the person who left the mud there for others to clean, the commission decided to go ahead with sending the invoice as well as setting an ordinance in place to hopefully stop something like this from happening again. 

In other business, the commission:

  • Heard a proposition from Sheriff Chris West regarding funding for new police-package, crew-cab trucks for the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department.
  • Heard from Sheriff West about budget cuts affecting the county and the Sheriff’s Department; and
  • Approved an appropriation of $1,600 to Harvest Tyme Food Ministries.

The commission will meet again on Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Charles Smith Annex in Hayneville.