MATTOON — The city may place a hold on issuing any new ambulance service permits through Sept. 20 while officials consider options as Dunn's Ambulance prepares to end its Mattoon service.
The Mattoon City Council is scheduled to consider approving this proposed moratorium when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 208 N. 19th St.
Dunn's, based in Taylorville, gave notice last week that it plans to end its Mattoon operation sometime on or before May 31. The closure will leave Mitchell-Jerdan Ambulance Service, based in Mattoon, as the sole provider of ambulance services in town. The city ended the Mattoon Fire Department's ambulance service on July 25.
The moratorium resolution states that city officials "have determined that it would not be in the best interests of the city and its residents to issue any permits for any new ambulance service until the city has carefully examined all applicable regulations, administrative rules, potential effects." Current ambulance ordinances limit the number of permits to two.
City Administrator Kyle Gill said he plans to examine ambulance call numbers from recent months and to talk with officials from the Coles County 911 system, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, and other organizations before making a recommendation to the council on the city's future ambulance coverage.
The moratorium resolution also states that city officials believe that Mitchell-Jerdan "has proven to provide capable services to the citizens of Mattoon and will continue to provide these services" during this period of evaluating the ambulance ordinances.
Mitchell-Jerdan issued a statement saying it is positioned to safely meet all the emergency medical transport needs in Mattoon after having upgraded its ambulance fleet and added staff during the past few months. Mitchell-Jerdan reported that because of this increase in capability, Dunn's closure will not adversely affect medical transportation and care in Mattoon.
"For the vast majority of the past 85 years, Mitchell-Jerdan has been the sole provider of emergency transportation. We are committed to continue providing quality medical transportation 24 hours per day, seven days a week for Mattoon and surrounding areas," the ambulance provider reported.
The fire department operated an advanced life support ambulance service from 2010 to 2018. City officials have said that the department's ambulance service lost money and duplicated the work of private providers. Firefighters countered that their service generated needed city revenue and provided essential coverage for Mattoon.
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Bart Owen, president of Mattoon Firefighters Local 691, said the fire department has retained advanced life support equipment on its fire trucks and has been providing backup service for the private providers. He said the city still has the fire department's ambulances in storage, and firefighters want to put them to work again.
"We are ready to go," Owen said.
Other actions that the council is scheduled to consider taking include:
-- Accepting the $295,393 bid of Howell Paving, Inc. of Mattoon for the city's 2019 street resurfacing project. The project includes the milling, patching, and asphalt resurfacing of Western Avenue from 21st to 26th street, 21st from Charleston to Richmond avenues, and Richmond from Logan Street to Holiday Drive.
-- Allocating an $18,000 tourism grant from the hotel/motel tax fund in support of the Mattoon Pride Softball organization for hosting four tournaments on May 9-11, June 7-9, June 28-30, and July 19-21.
-- Approving a second water and sewer billing adjustment in the amount $7,822 on behalf of Anamet Electrical, Inc. due to a water leak.
-- Approving a water and sewer billing adjustment in the amount $1,096 on behalf of William Hall due to a water leak.
-- Approving the official city zoning map and the annual publication of this map.