Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown has pushed back the timetable for the Board of Works to make a decision on an ambulance service provider for the city by two weeks to Aug. 4.
Brown said the move was taken to give Board of Works members time to discuss the issue with other parties, including members of Columbus City Council, and also gives bidders for the project a greater opportunity to respond to requests for more specific information.
The members previously indicated a decision would be made at the next Board of Works meeting Tuesday. This is the second time the meeting has been postponed.
Brown said the delay should not have a great impact on departmental budget hearings, which are scheduled for July 30 and 31.
“We will just go into those hearings knowing that there will be variables we might have to consider based on what decision we make,” she said. “The main issue here is that we will have more time to talk with a number of groups that have an interest in the issue.”
Although the final decision on the provider of the services rests with the Board of Works, several parties that have been involved in the process have voiced opinions as to how the process should evolve.
Members of the Columbus Emergency Ambulance Services Board, which has been advising the Board of Works on the decision, have asked for delays.
Bartholomew County Commissioner Carl Lienhoop, a member of the Ambulance Services Board, even suggested that Columbus and Bartholomew County government officials each could set aside $200,000 in their budgets so they would know the money is there to cover any ambulance service options.
Although the city council is not involved in the contract negotiations, at least four council members — Tim Shuffett, Ryan Brand, Aaron Hankins and Jim Lienhoop — recently supported selecting a provider that will not charge a subsidy for the service. A fifth council member, Frank Miller, indicated he also likes that approach.
The Board of Works meets at 10 a.m. every Tuesday.
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