Ambulance issue raises debate

Ambulance issue raises debate

Decatur's ambulance war is once again the focus of opposition within the city council.

Two ambulance companies made their pitch to the council last night, hoping to be the city's only provider.

It still seems to be a very divisive issue.

Some council members are in favor of the status quo and others wanting to bring competition into the mix.

Ambulance service has traditionally been a monopoly in Decatur.

The city does not issue a business license to more than one company and some council members don't want to start now.

"There are cities that have more than one, and sometimes they are subsidized by the city and we don't want to get into that," says David Bolding.

Bolding says there is not enough call volume.

"The simplicity of one provider is they don't jump calls. If we had two providers, they would be trying to get you to call them directly," says Bolding.

Bolding says that's a bad thing.

But this issue has another side, a side that wants citizens to have the opportunity to choose.

Councilman Ray Metzger says competition and choice would be a good thing.

"They have a choice. Right now they don't have a choice," says Metzger. "I got competition down the road. I got small businesses all around to do work and sell other things and if I didn't have to compete, boy I could make a lot of money."

"If you get a call and it was in a certain part of town where they did not like to work, they may not take that call," says Bolding.

"I think we need another ambulance. Just having just one does not work in the retail business or any kind of business," says Metzger.

Ihis item is expected to be voted on during Monday's regularly scheduled meeting.