Debate over multi-ambulance service providers in Alexandria reintroduced on city council agenda
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - A hot topic in 2022 for the Alexandria City Council is once again entering the spotlight.
Last year, the council debated for five months, delaying votes while receiving public feedback, over whether the city should allow multiple ambulance providers to operate in Alexandria instead of just one.
In June of 2022, the council voted and approved to allow for more competition to do business in the city along with Acadian Ambulance for emergency and non-emergency services. However, before any companies could become established, then Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall used his executive power to veto the council’s vote. The council failed to override the veto, meaning that Acadian Ambulance remained as the sole provider for the city.
District 1 Councilman Reddex Washington, who was one of the council members to vote in favor of the multi-ambulance services, is now bringing the agenda item back to the council. The agenda item will be introduced at the next council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19.
“The majority was a yes vote for this multi-service provider, which means that as a council, we felt like the constituents of Alexandria, Louisiana wanted more service providers to be able to provide those emergency services for them,” said Washington.
The City of Alexandria has had just one ambulance provider for the last 28 years, which is Acadian Ambulance. Acadian is under contract through the Rapides Parish Police Jury to remain that sole provider through next year.
In the Alexandria Code of Ordinances in Sec. 13-54, the police jury is authorized by the city to select and contract an ambulance provider to be the sole provider for both emergency and non-emergency services for both the parish and the city.
Last year, in former mayor Jeff Hall’s veto of the ordinance, he cited that the council’s vote not only violated the city charter but was not in the best interest of the city.
However, Councilman Washington claims that what the council did last year did not violate the charter since it is the parish that is under contract with Acadian Ambulance, not the city. According to Washington, his new ordinance is currently being checked by legal advisors.
Washington also argued that after hearing public feedback last year, he felt more residents wanted to see more ambulance services operating around town.
“I have not seen where it’s better to have a monopoly of any type of business, especially an ambulance service,” said Washington.
If the ordinance passes through legal, it could go back up for a vote at the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3.
News Channel 5 has reached out to Acadian Ambulance for a reaction in response to the ordinance being placed on the council agenda. As of this time, KALB is still awaiting a response.
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