Ambulance contract is important decision for county

October 28, 2013

To my fellow citizens and taxpayers,

Our county commissioners are currently considering two proposals for Ashe County’s ambulance service. They will make this important decision in the next couple of weeks. As they are evaluating the candidates I feel compelled to point out a few things that I hope they will consider.

The bid submitted by Ashe Medics is substantially lower than the one submitted by current service providers, Blue Ridge Medical Transport (BRMT).

The difference was in the $200,000 plus range. As a taxpayer, I write a large check every year to Ashe County to pay my taxes. I love living here and am happy to pay my fair share to do so. I do however want to feel certain that our commissioners are using my hard earned money as wisely and as efficiently as possible - as I would myself.

If I were making the decision, I would give this factor very heavy weight.

There are significant savings to be had by choosing Ashe Medics. If the quality of the bidder’s service is comparable, then Ashe Medics is the only choice that makes sense.

Why wouldn’t you want to save us, the taxpayers a bundle of money? What other services could be funded with the savings? And as far as service goes, I hope the commissioners will vet the candidates carefully enough to determine that they can expect top notch service from the lower bidder - Ashe Medics.

This is a well established provider with a long record of good service in neighboring Watauga County. I wouldn’t advocate putting our citizen’s health and welfare in jeopardy by engaging a bargain basement ambulance service to save money. I plan to grow old here and want to know our county has a reliable state-of-the-art ambulance service provider. I feel comfortable with Ashe Medics.

BRMT has held the contract for a long time and they have apparently done a good job. Their owner, Robert Poe has a long term working relationship with the commissioners. I would imagine that it will be difficult to bring in someone new, but personal feelings, friendships and loyalties must be put aside when you take the responsibility of public office.

Ashe Medics is owned by Craig Sullivan who was born and raised in Ashe County. He is not an outsider who will come in and replace BRMT’s employees with new folks. I have spoken to him about this personally as a concern because in these harsh economic times, we cannot afford to lose any more jobs here in the county.

Mr. Sullivan deserves a fair shot at this contract and I am confident that if he is given the chance will prove himself to do not just an adequate job but an exceptional one. I applaud the commissioners for opening up the field this year and for the transparent way with which they have conducted the RFP process. I believe we have diligent, resourceful leaders who will take all of the important factors into consideration and make the right choice for all of us.


Keith Marten