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City forgoes countywide ambulance contract

The city of Spokane will continue to go it alone for ambulance service.

The Spokane City Council on Monday rejected in a tie vote a proposal to join a board that will take bids for a countywide ambulance contract.

Last week, the City Council unanimously approved a five-year contract extension with American Medical Response for ambulance service. That contract included stipulations to break the deal if the city preferred joining the countywide effort.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department and several fire districts and smaller cities are working to combine forces to have one ambulance contract in hopes of driving down costs.

If the city of Spokane had joined the board, it still could have rejected the countywide deal if the bids received were less favorable than the city’s existing contract.

Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan, who joined councilors Nancy McLaughlin and Richard Rush in a failed effort to join the board, told members after the vote that they deprived citizens from knowing if they have the best deal possible on ambulance service.

But council members Michael Allen, Bob Apple and Steve Corker argued that it was unlikely that a service area that includes rural residences could result in cheaper ambulance rides. They also expressed concerns about handing control of ambulance decisions to a board with little city representation.

Councilman Al French was absent for the vote.

City Administrator Ted Danek said Mayor Mary Verner supported joining the board.

Jonathan Brunt can be reached at jonathanb@spokesman.com or (509) 459-5442.


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