The Northwest Georgia Region 1 EMS Council voted to open the Paulding ambulance provider zone in a special called meeting Sept. 17.
Sam Clark, Paulding coroner and owner of Clark Ambulance, is the current designated zone provider for the county, said Region 1 Program Director David Foster.
“The potential sale of Clark Ambulance Service to Metro Atlanta [Ambulance Service] is what opened this up,” Foster said.
Today an email stating the opening was in effect will be sent to all licensed ambulance services in the 16 counties which make up the Northwest Georgia Region 1 Emergency Medical Service.
Region officials will seek requests for consideration in the Paulding zone from Friday through Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. The region’s transportation committee is scheduled to meet Oct. 18 to vote on its recommended provider to the council. The 35-member council is scheduled to vote Oct. 24 for its final choice.
The committee will make its decision based on the information given by applicants telling how they will follow stated guidelines of economy, efficiency and benefit to public welfare, Foster said.
Paulding County government leaders recommended the zone be awarded to Metro Atlanta, Foster said.
The decision to recommend Metro was an administrative decision and not voted on by the Paulding County Board of Commissioners, said County Attorney Jayson Phillips. He said the decision was based on the support the company has given Clark under an operating agreement in effect since June.
“Paulding County has no legal authority to select the ambulance provider,” Phillips said.
Phillips said commission chairman David Austin, in anticipation of the zone’s opening, sent a letter to Foster and the committee expressing his personal support of Metro because of the operating agreement already in place. Austin has said he would have given his support to any company that helped fill the service gap, presuming they did a good job, Phillips said.
In early August, County Administrator Mike Jones sent a letter on behalf of the county government to Region 1 to ask that the Paulding zone be opened to a new designated provider. Given the county’s rapid growth in population in recent years Paulding officials felt it needed to re-evaluate who is designated, Phillips said.
Foster said Paulding’s recommendation could play a role in the council’s decision – though he added he could not speak for committee and council members.
Austell-based Puckett EMS is planning to submit a request for consideration, said spokesman Wayne Dodd. The company has had a mutual aid agreement to provide backup assistance with Clark for years, he said.
The Northwest Georgia Region 1 EMC Council will meet Oct. 24 at Trinity Baptist Church, 1170 Rome Road SW, Calhoun.