MATTOON — The City Council is scheduled tonight (Tuesday, Sept. 17) to consider reducing the number of city ambulance service licenses from two to one.
The council also will consider approving concept plans for the construction of a Hilton Garden Inn and adjacent convention center, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois service center, and a HSHS medical clinic. All of these developments are located in Coles Centre at the southwest corner of Illinois Route 16 and Lerna Road.
Regarding ambulance licenses, the council on March 19 placed a temporary moratorium on issuing any new licenses and set Sept. 20 as the expiration date. The council took this action after Dunn's Ambulance of Taylorville announced that it was ending its Mattoon service. This left Mitchell-Jerdan Ambulance Service of Mattoon as the only provider.
City Administrator Kyle Gill said the city staff monitored ambulance coverage during the moratorium as they considered service licensing options.
"Mitchell-Jerdan has stepped up. They have increased their ambulances and they have increased their personnel. They have been handling it and meeting the ordinance," Gill said of the decision to reduce the number of licenses. Gill added that it is easier for the city to monitor the response time of one service provider, rather than multiple providers.
The ordinance stipulates than an ambulance must arrive at the scene of an advanced life support call within eight minutes of the time the call was received. This time criterion must be met on at least 90 percent of all such calls each month.
"I have been doing my due diligence on checking the response times and they (Mitchell-Jerdan) have been meeting the requirements," Phipps said.
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In addition, Phipps said there has been less of a need for Charleston Fire Department to send backup ambulance to Mattoon and Mitchell-Jerdan has even sent backup units to Charleston. He said mutual aid is common locally, adding that Mattoon and Mitchell-Jerdan crews have been training together and continuing to assist each other.
The city ended the Mattoon Fire Department's ambulance service on July 25, 2018 as part of efforts to deal with city budget deficits.
The council also is set to recognize three city staff members who are retiring — police officers Brad Gabel and Dan St. John, each after 20 years of service; and Kenny King, after more than 34 years.
Other actions that the council will consider taking when it meets at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall include:
• Ratifying a two-year collective bargaining agreement with the AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Council 31, Local 3821 for 2018-2019, retroactively, and for 2019-2020. Gill said this agreement covers approximately 30 public works employees. He said each year of the agreement includes a salary increase of 2¼ percent.
• Allocating two grants from downtown tax increment financing district revenues — $34,833 to Jon and Renee England for electrical code compliance and façade work at the Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio building, 1608 Broadway Ave.; and $26,519 to Jasper Holdings for engineering and tuckpointing for the Luigi's restaurant building, 1610-1612 Broadway Ave.
• Allocating a $1,500 hotel/motel tax fund grant to Mattoon High School in support of the Dec. 26-28 Girls Holiday Basketball Tournament.