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City has drafted contract for potential agreement with AMR

City has drafted contract for potential agreement with AMR
Charles City Council members Dan Mallaro (left) and Michael Hammond sit in the chambers at a regular council meeting. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra
By Kelly Terpstra,

A contract has been drafted.

Charles City Administrator Steve Diers met with the Floyd County Ambulance Commission this past Monday to discuss contract talks with AMR (American Medical Response).

Representatives from the Floyd County Medical Center and Floyd County also attended.

“We’ve come up with a potential agreement that could work,” said Diers.

Diers told the City Council during a regular meeting Monday that the city is willing to eliminate the $25,000 that AMR paid the city in its prior contract.

AMR is also currently asking for a $128,000 subsidy from the city to continue its service in Charles City.

“We were able to put $50,000 together as a city to fund this,” said Diers.

Under the expired contract, which ran out last June, AMR paid the city $25,000 yearly to keep its ambulances at the Charles City Fire Department, rent office space from the city and pay for radio dispatch services. That money also went to pay for firefighters responding on medical calls. The dispatch payment ultimately went back to the county, which pays for countywide law enforcement, fire and EMS dispatching services through its general fund.

The proposed contract eliminates AMR’s requirement to pay the city and the county for those services.

“The hospital and county have some interest in maybe doing some additional things in an effort just to try and keep what we have,” Diers said about ambulance service. “We’ve come up with a potential agreement that could work and so we’ll be looking to move forward with that, given that $50,000 that the city can put in.”

Diers said the staffing for AMR would be kept at the same level, but there could be some price increases in calls for service.

“That’s the X-factor there,” he said.

Diers also said he is planning on contacting AMR Regional Director Mark Corley so he could attend a council planning session soon to discuss contract negotiations.

“Aggregating ambulance calls is what’s going to save this thing. It’s just rural communities. It’s so hard to provide that service and volunteerism is not what it used to be. So a lot of communities are struggling with that. We’re no exception,” said Diers.

In other business at the council meeting Monday, Diers noted that there were no bids received for the 401 North Main Remodeling Project. The makeover would include the replacement of windows and the front entry door, as well as an upgraded new vestibule area that would be open 24 hours a day for visitors to acquire pamphlets about Charles City.

“We had one that expressed interest, but they could not get a bid bond in place,” said Diers. “We’re going to look to move forward with that going forward without a bid bond. That just basically secures the bid will be followed through on. Since we didn’t have any, we’ll look to work with that particular vendor.”

The project is estimated to cost just over $51,000. Diers said the city has earmarked $40,000 in the general fund for the work, and has received a $10,000 hotel/motel tax grant to assist in the funding.

• A bid of over $59,000 by King Construction of Clear Lake to begin the South Main Sidewalk Extension Project was approved by the council. An add alternate bid of $8,767 for the same construction company to construct gutter flow modifications and driveway improvements at 800 First Avenue was also given the go-ahead.

• In advance of eventual 5G cellular antenna deployment to towns across the nation, a city policy was created and voted for by the council to help determine where antennas can be located.

“It’s that next generation for cellular service,” said Diers. “To get those higher speeds, they’re using a bandwidth that requires more antennas.”

• The specs and plans for the South Cedar Terrace Transformer Project were approved.

Three transformers on the site will be replaced with four new transformers. By adding the additional transformer, that would come to a savings of $42,000, according to  architect Ed Winegar.

MidAmerican Energy does not keep the current transformers in stock. So if there would be a power outage and the transformers would need to be replaced, that delay could be lengthy.

Nielsen said there is $350,000 budgeted for the project with a base bid of $320,00 and an add-alternate for around $70,000. The project would be funded by the housing’s operating expenses.

• The city has budgeted $33,000 to have the clear well and lime sludge tank pressure washed, the cracks sealed and painted with an epoxy coating. A bid of $21,000 by K&W Coatings to do the work was approved.

• Work will begin soon to replace the traffic light control box at the intersection of Gilbert and Main Street by the courthouse. The quote for that work to be done by General Traffic Controls for $17,835 was approved.

• A tree trimming ordinance was passed that allows property owners to trim their own trees in the city right of way.