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Council Approves New Agreement With ALSTAR

ALSTAR EMS and city officials have reached a new ambulance service agreement. The Jamestown City Council approved the new four-year contract at its voting session meeting Monday. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

A new four-year ambulance services agreement has been approved by the Jamestown City Council.

During the council’s voting session meeting Monday, a resolution to enter into a new agreement with ALSTAR EMS to provide ambulance services in the city was approved, with little discussion on the proposal.

Earlier this month, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said, as part of the new agreement, ALSTAR will also provide a medical director when needed, the ability to bill for ambulance calls the city provides and to utilize additional services they provide like training.

“We are very excited and pleased to renegotiate an agreement with ALSTAR to provide ambulance services for the city of Jamestown,” Sundquist said.

During a work session meeting of the council on Oct. 19, Matthew Coon, Jamestown Fire Department deputy fire chief, said the last agreement between the city and ALSTAR expired in 1999, with the two entities operating under the terms of the expired contract for more than 20 years.

“We sorely needed to work out a new agreement,” Coon said.

At the same meeting, Jeff Russell, At-Large councilman, asked how ALSTAR will provide the necessary ambulance services for the city, with the Jamestown Fire Department answering more EMS calls in recent years. During Sundquist’s State of the City address in January, he said when ALSTAR first started in the city during the mid-1990s, the city’s fire department was only responding to around 50 calls for EMS service a year. He said in 2019, the Jamestown Fire Department responded to more than 1,000 ambulance service calls.

David Thomas, ALSTAR executive director, said ALSTAR is in the process of hiring and training more employees to provide more ambulance service calls in the city. He also said ALSTAR, which is part of WCA Services Corp., has the full support of UPMC Chautauqua.

In January, ALSTAR canceled its EMS services agreement with the city because the terms they were operating under were more than 20 years old. The previous agreement was signed in the mid-1990s.

In February, city officials requested proposals from ambulance service businesses to provide EMS service in Jamestown. There was a deadline in March for the proposals, but, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the request was extended.

In February, Sundquist announced that other EMS providers have indicated wanting to work with city officials on providing ambulance services. Sundquist said he could not comment on the names of the other companies that had shown interest.

In July, Sundquist said city officials were working with the ambulance service providers who submitted an application to finalize an agreement. Sundquist wouldn’t say how many proposals city officials received.

In other business, council held budget deliberations prior to the voting session meeting with the clerk, treasurer, assessor, comptroller, information services and corporation counsel departments.

One item discussed was the loss of a part-time position in the clerk’s office during 2019. Jennifer Williams, city clerk, said the position operated the window where people could pay bills and receive city forms. She said the loss of the position has created challenges as staff, herself included, now has to provide the customer service to the public at the window instead of performing their other duties. She added if the position is not refilled in the 2021 budget that changes will need to be made, which might include not being opened for customer service during lunch hour or closing the windows to the public earlier in the day.

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