With a June deadline approaching, the future of ambulance service in Streator will be discussed at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The meeting is scheduled 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, at City Hall, 204 S. Bloomington St.
Streator City Manager David Plyman and Fire Chief Gary Bird have been talking to several different entities, including the Streator firefighters union, to find a solution that will best suit the city. Plyman said all options remain on the table and Tuesday’s meeting is designed to give the council and citizens an update on the process.
Advanced Medical Transport, the private ambulance company which services Streator for 911 calls, asked the city to contribute $400,000 for the first year, $500,000 the second year, $600,000 the third year and $700,000 the fourth year to continue providing service in the city. AMT has provided the Streator area with 911 paramedic ambulance service since 2004. In that time, the city has not contracted with or compensated AMT for the services.
AMT officials told the city they would like to know what the city plans to do by June and would service the city until October.
Tim Beccue, vice president of finance at AMT, told the council Feb. 8 with rising operational costs, including labor, technology and equipment, it is no longer financially sustainable for AMT to operate in Streator without financial assistance from the city. OSF Center for Health-Streator is required to have an ambulance on-hand for its standalone emergency room to transfer patients to hospitals. Recently OSF negotiated an agreement with Stark County Ambulance to service transfers to other hospitals, housing an ambulance within its facility on Sixth Street. AMT was handling these transfers prior to that agreement.
The city of Streator is operating a structural deficit in its budget. With that said, Plyman said the city will be able to utilize COVID-19 relief funds on equipment and vehicles, should the need arise. To transfer ambulance services to the Streator Fire Department would require collective bargaining, which has been occurring. AMT’s request for contribution also was not during a competitive bidding process with other potential providers, so those figures could change.
AMT responds to 3,580 calls annually within the city. The ambulance service is assisted on life-threatening calls by the Streator Fire Department. AMT also operates outside the city’s limits, meaning governments such as Reading Township, Otter Creek Township, Cornell and Long Point also will have to consider the future of ambulance service in their communities.