Augusta, GA – Augusta city leaders turned testy when talking about an ambulance contract and whether it’s time to end its contract with Gold Cross.
“I think we got a contract, and until that contact is up, I mean, there are several contracts that have been really messed up and nobody stepped to the plate and said, ‘let’s change it’,” said Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams.
But, some Commissioners feel it is time for a change and that the city end its contract with Gold Cross and stop the $1.2 million subsidy the city provides.
“One-hundred thousand dollars a month, that’s lots of money. We’re supposed to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money and I think we need to do something differently,” said Commissioner Bill Lockett.
“What the subsidy is for is for people who can’t pay…Augusta-Richmond County has a high indigent population and that is what the subsidy pays for,” said Gold Cross CEO Vince Brogdon.
But, some Commissioners feel Gold Cross costs are high enough so a subsidy isn’t needed.
“They transported me from 12th and Walton Way to the Downtown VA and they charged me $950.97 to just go a few blocks. If I knew it was going to cost me a thousand dollars, I could have got up and walked,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
But, some Commissioners feel it’s not time to walk out on a deal halfway through. “Some people have been disappointed, but I know some people have gotten good service. I just don’t know if there is a reason you would change the contract midstream,” said Commissioner Mary Davis.
Ending Gold Cross’s deal doesn’t appear to be done, yet. A motion in the Public Safety Committee to send the contract termination to the full Commission without a recommendation failed on a 2-1 vote, but chairman Bill Lockett requested the item go on next week’s agenda, anyway, so the Gold Cross debate will go on.