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Ambulance timing sparks new issue



Published: Fri, September 8, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The city will create a recycling center beside its fire station.

By D.A. WILKINSON

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- Salem City Council's debate Thursday over its ambulance response time ordinance has sparked a second issue.

The city requires ambulance companies to respond within nine minutes when they are called by city safety forces. Complaints about longer response times prompted the review.

Rural/Metro Ambulance of Youngstown and KLG Mobile Intensive Co. of Salem rotate being the first service called each month. That's about 20 to 30 calls a month, according to the two companies.

The two companies declined to indicate how many direct calls they get from businesses or individuals each month in the city. Citizens can call any ambulance company they select.

Sole provider

Rural/Metro is now proposing it be named the sole provider for calls made by authorities. Tina Hull, the company's division general manager, said it would not increase any city costs. She declined to give specifics of the plan.

Karl Griggs, president and chief executive officer of KLG, said he wants the rotation to continue.

Griggs said his company had once been the sole responder to emergency calls. Hull said that was incorrect.

Councilman Walt Bezeredi noted the companies were in "very serious business competition."

Council began rotating calls weekly -- then monthly -- between companies after it decided to stop paying Gold Cross some $100,000 a year for ambulance service.

Councilman Steve Andres said council does not want to go back to paying a company for service.

No decision was made on the rotation issue or Rural/Metro's proposal.

Recycling again

Council, meeting as a committee of the whole, did decide to try recycling again by setting up a center on a lot just south of the city fire department.

Councilman Justin Palmer raised the proposal and suggested the lot since it is near the fire department, which is staffed 24 hours a day.

The city eliminated one recycling site after it became a mess when people dropped off garbage. There's a smaller site operating now at a local business, but it is open only one Saturday a month.

Palmer said the solid waste district serving Columbiana County believes there should be a total of four sites in the city and Perry Township. Council members said they did not care if the new site handled the volume that four smaller sites could handle -- as long as the site remained clean.

wilkinson@vindy.com




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