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Mich. Ambulance Company Opposes Ordinance

GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. -- A local ambulance company hopes to get northern Genesee County (Mich.) communities on its side as they fight an ordinance changing the way ambulance services are handled in the county.

CM Ambulance Service presented information to the Thetford Township Board Jan. 28. Company representatives said they are scheduled to make a presentation in Clio on Monday night and will head to Vienna Township later this month.

They are opposed to an ordinance passed in December by the county Board of Commissioners changing the way ambulance services are handled in the county.

"It would put our ambulance company out of business," said Michelle Lake, a representative for CM Ambulance.

The county currently allows private ambulance companies to set up bases where they want with no requirements regarding response times.

The new system would dispatch only ambulance companies that have contracted with the county. It could ultimately cut the number of ambulance companies in the county from 10 to as few as one.

The new ordinance also provides penalties for companies if they fail to reach patients within nine minutes more than 10 percent of the time. County officials told The Flint Journal in December that the new ordinance would help decrease overall response times.

It will take at least a year before the new ordinance is implemented.

CM officials doesn't know if the company will make the cut but they would be allowed to participate in the bidding process for a contract with the county.

"It's a shot in the dark," Lake said. "(The county) does not know who they are going to hire."

Lake did say that her company, along with other local ambulance services, hired attorneys to review the ordinance.

"This matter has been turned over to our legal counsel," Lake said.

Jim Grady of Patriot Ambulance also spoke at the Thetford meeting.

"As far as the county goes this is a done deal," Grady said. "If you look at this it's the purist form there is of socialism."

Patriot is also seeking legal counsel.

So far, Thetford officials haven't made any final decisions, but did decide to review the information presented at the meeting and have their attorney, Kevin Kilby, look over a resolution of support given to the board by CM representatives.

But board member Cynthia Hicks said she's opposed to the ordinance.

"Everything that (county officials) touch is damaged," Hicks said. "What I've read, it scares me to death."

The board voted 6-1 to have Kilby look over the resolution. Trustee Eileen Kerr was the sole opposing vote saying she needed more information.

Hicks did say that local municipalities have options and they don't have to support the ordinance.

The options include continuing with the county's ordinance, passing a resolution to opt out of the county's ordinance or municipalities could pass their own ordinances.

"They have no more authority over EMS than we do," Hicks said.

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