Commissioners accept Ashe Medics ambulance contract 3-2

Dylan Lightfoot Staff Writer

November 4, 2013

The Ashe County Board of Commissioners this evening voted 3-2 to accept Ashe Medics’ bid for county ambulance service, while turning down a resubmitted bid from long-time provider Blue Ridge Medical Transport.

Ashe Medics, an ambulance company which does not yet exist, will be providing ambulance service beginning June 30, 2014, said company owner Craig Sullivan, who owns and operates Watauga Medics.

Sullivan’s final bid for the six-year contract — submitted just minutes before the board went into executive session to discuss the contract prior to voting — was $5,704,961 to provide three four-wheel drive ambulances.

Blue Ridge Medical Transport’s Robert Poe, who has held Ashe’s ambulance contract since 1994, submitted an adjusted bid of $5,700,000 some time after sealed bids for the new contract were officially opened Sept. 20.

Sullivan was informed of this fact Friday evening, with the board set to review the bids today in preparation for a vote to award the contract. Blue Ridge’s lowered bid was “to the penny” the same as Ashe Medics’ original bid, Sullivan said.

Blue Ridge’s Sept. 20 bid was for $4,515,428.77 to operate two ambulances, with an alternate bid of $225,000 per year for a third ambulance. Ashe Medics had submitted a bid of $4,232,961, with an alternate bid of $299,192.

The board today asked that each contractor submit a final bid for consideration during executive session. Per board request, both bids were calculated with the third-ambulance option included.

The vote came after a lengthy discussion of the bids and the bid process during the 2 p.m. work session, where Sullivan pushed for a vote, saying he could afford no more delays. Three months ago, Ashe Medics contracted to buy the old Napa building at 716 South Jefferson Ave., and has already placed orders for three new ambulances, he said.

Commissioners Judy Poe, Gerald Price and Gary Roark voted to award the contract to Ashe Medics, with Chairman Larry Rhodes and Commissioner Williams Sands dissenting.

Sullivan said he planned to offer jobs to all former BRMT employees.