GLEN ELLYN – After months of consideration, the Glen Ellyn Village Board approved a $1.74 million contract that will remove ambulance and emergency services from the village's control and its pocketbook.
The five-year contract with Metro Paramedic Services, Inc. will place ambulance staffing, billing, ownership and maintenance in the hands of the Elmhurst-based business.
Overall, the board supported the move with a 6-1 vote.
"I like the whole package," said trustee Diane McGinley.
The proposal was the second the board approved on the subject. In February, Kurtz Paramedic Services of New Lenox was awarded the bid, but backed out later that week after reassessing the numbers.
In April, the village received four proposals from vendors, each giving two estimates based on whether the village retained ownership of the ambulances.
Metro offered the lowest bid for both options.
Village staff recommended in a memo that the board continue to own its fleet, which would realize about $272,000 in savings over the life of the contract.
Assistant Village Manager Al Stonitsch pointed to cost savings and increased control over the program as the reason for the recommendation.
Village Manager Mark Franz said continuing to own the ambulances could provide leverage in future negotiations.
However, the board viewed ownership as financially risky, and all but trustee Dean Clark voted to sell them off.
"I don't think the cost here justifies the additional risk," said trustee Pete Ladesic. "I have never and I still don't support owning our own ambulances."
McGinley said spending about $54,000 a year to remove unpredictable emergency expenses was worthwhile.
"When we first started this ... one of the goals that was set forth for us was to completely remove budget unknowns," she said. "There is significant risk in owning them. It's a budget unknown and you're leaving yourself vulnerable to that aspect of it."
Metro Paramedic Vice President Michael Tillman said Monday that Metro's parent company recently increased fleet maintenance capabilities by 300 percent and could easily accomodate the village's needs. It currently cares for about 250 ambulances, he said, including vehicles in Cicero and Elmhurst.
Metro previously provided service to Glen Ellyn for 20 years, before the village changed services to cut costs, Tillman said.
The village can renew the contract on an annual basis for five years after its expiration.