Trumann council reviews contract with TEMS

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Last year, the Trumann City Council entered into a contract with Trumann EMS to make them the city's exclusive ambulance provider. This meant all dispatch calls for an ambulance were directed to TEMS first, and if they were unable to take a call, it was then directed to another ambulance service. The contract did not keep a person from asking for another ambulance service by name when they called.

The contract expired on June 13, and as per the contract, a committee met several times prior to expiration to discuss renewal and make a recommendation to the council. (The council was originally set to meet on June 13, but that meeting was postponed due to the death of retired Officer Tim England.) In a statement presented to the council on June 20, the committee recommended against renewing the contract because it "potentially leaves the City liable for errors and omissions in life and death situations."

Mayor Barbara Lewallen said the city was happy to have a locally owned ambulance service and the committee had no ill will against TEMS, but the committee's issue with the contract was a question of liability with the city acting as a middle man. She said while the city is exempt from tort liability, there was still a possibility someone could bring a civil lawsuit against the city over ambulance service.

TEMS owner Dale Parker told the council, "The contract was formed a year ago because there was a need for it, and there still exists that need today."

After much discussion on the subject, Alderman Brett Parker made a motion to approve the contract renewal, but the motion died for lack of a second. Alderman Rick Atkins then made a motion to table the matter to let Dale Parker meet with the committee again--along with any council members who wish to attend the committee meeting--to take a deeper look at the matter before the next council meeting. Ryan Kibler, President of Medic One Ambulance, asked to also be able to meet with the committee.

During the Code Enforcement report, Code Enforcement Officer Gary Anderson spoke about a property on West Main that burned on Jan. 11. The condemnation process had begun earlier in the year, but an injunction was filed to stop it and then the ownership changed. They have started the process with the new owner, but as little significant work has been done, the property will be on the council's agenda next month for condemnation. Anderson reported that 540 Monroe, which was condemned last month, will be torn down. The council also approved a resolution condemning a property at 324 Smith Street.

In other business, the council:

*reviewed the fireworks ordinance and decided to make no changes.

*approved a $2,000 change order for the new shop building for weather shields for the ventilation fans, external antennas for the garage doors, and additional concrete work.

*approved a motion giving the city permission to work toward selling a list of donated properties the mayor presented. Some of the properties were donated by the State Land Commissioner.

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