Supervisors table bids for ambulance service

By PAT BROWN,

Contract bids for ambulance service for Simpson County were opened and tabled at the last county Board of Supervisors meeting to give the county administrator an opportunity to review them and prepare a summary for the board.

Three bids were submitted.  The existing service is provided by AMR, which recently merged with another ambulance service.  Their bid offers the county three ambulances with 24 hour a day seven day a week service.  It also includes one reserve ambulance for the $60,000 per year subsidy.  They also offer helicopter transport through the company they merged with, Air Medical.

Another company, ASAP Medical, offered four ambulances with 24 hour service seven days a week for a $75,000 annual supplement. 

A third company, Pafford EMS, offered three ambulances 24 hours a day seven days a week for $400,000 per year.  No decision was made by the board, and details will be discussed at the next meeting of the board. 

The Board of Supervisors approved the appointment of Donna Magee as election commissioner to fill the unexpired term of Price Wallace, who recently resigned the postion to run for Representative District 77. 

Magee will serve until a special election can be held to fill the position. 

The board accepted ownership of the Merit Water Park as  the Pearl River Basin Development District proceeds in dissolution.  

The Road Department as well as Solid Waste should be taking possession of new trucks in June. 

The county is utilizing their first reverse auction for the purchase of a fire truck for Braxton.  The reverse bid process will close on May 14 at noon.  The cost to submit bids is $35 per bid.  The lowest bid will win the opportunity to sell equipment to the county.  The county will no longer utilize the sealed bid process. 

 County Tas Assessor Charles Baldwin discussed tax exemption for the former Pioneer Health Services building in the Magee industrial park.  It was determined that the larger building owned by Trustmark did not qualify for the exemption that was originally given by the board to Pioneer, which filed bankruptcy.  The new business, Ascentium, does not own the building, which is owned by Trustmark.  The board discussed the point at which Ascentium took possession. Both businesses and buildings may have lost the exemption because of transfer of ownership. 

Sidney Sawyer, chief executive officer for Lackey Hospital, owner of Ascentium, said last year that the operation in the old building would end on December 31 and reopen on Jan. 2, 2018, in the new building under the new name.  

The board approved dues paid for Shane Fewell and Billy Seghini for dues to STORM which is field soberity training.  They approved the rental of a vehicle for jail training in Louisville, Kentucky for May 18 through the 22. 

The board approved moving Ebony Bass from part time to full time detention officer.  The board approved the hiring of Jasmin Catchings for part time detention officer. 

Sheriff Donald O’Cain acknowledged the assistance his department had received with the recent bomb threat at Simpson Central.  He said that Sheriff Bryan Bailey had sent three bomb sniffing dogs to check the facility.  He said that the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Homeland Security and the FBI were involved with the investigation which was prompted by a text message to an administrator. 

County Administrator Rhuel Dickinson reminded the board about the park dedication on May 16 at 2 p.m. honoring Mable Everett.

The next meeting of the board is set for 9 a.m. on Monday, May 15.