IRON COUNTY — The Iron County Commission is moving forward with plans to consider transferring the Iron County Ambulance over to a privatized service.
In September, the commission announced the private sector was being looked into as an option for the ambulance service, and the announcement was met with mixed reviews and concerns from ambulance workers and community members.
On Thursday, the Iron County Commission closed the bidding process for the ambulance service; on Monday, the names of the bidders were announced. The companies Gold Cross and Classic Lifeguard Air Medical both submitted bids for the service, along with a bid placed by four private individuals named Paul Christensen, Kyle Preston, Shane Bennett and Rich Preston.
“Our request for proposal was open to anybody interested, so it is not limited to a company,” Iron County Commissioner David Miller said. “If there is a team of people interested, that is totally legitimate.”
While these bids have been received, Miller said, they are still being reviewed by the commission members and he cannot say if one proposal is being favored more than another.
Although the commission is considering privatizing the ambulance service, they will not be changing the dispatch service currently in place, Miller said. Bringing in another service for dispatch would not be ideal because it would just add another step that would not be needed.
“The dispatch service that we have (now) reaches to all of our public safety entities at the same,” Miller said. “Because of the importance of coordination … we want to make sure that our dispatch remains.”
Overall, the issues with the current ambulance service are ones involving money, Miller said. Over at least the last decade, the service has incurred over $2.1 million in debt.
“We have to address the problems that we do have, which is a huge debt and recurring deficits,” Miller said.
The members of the Iron County Commission will be reviewing and discussing the bids they have received in a meeting on Monday in the commission chambers at 68 S. 100 East in Parowan.
While the meeting is open to the public, Miller said, its purpose is not to have a debate or a place for people to vent their frustrations; rather one of conducting business and discussing the options available to the county.
“The commission is interested in what is the most viable and best option for the long term,” Miller said, “as well as addressing the short-term issues for the citizens of Iron County.”
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