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What’s the progress on Gold Cross contract with commission?

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – For months, Augusta city leaders and Gold Cross have battled over a new contract, but we could reach the beginning of the end.

Leaders have started approving a draft contract with EMS vendor Gold Cross.

While the final draft approval has been pushed to the next committee meeting in two weeks, we could see the final version approved in early October.

“I think this is a step in the right direction,” said Augusta Fire Chief Antonio Burden.

Augusta’s draft contract with Gold Cross, referred to as ‘the vendor’, was laid out for city leaders at Tuesday’s administrative committee.

While there are still issues to work out, it’s the closest they’ve gotten to signing or even seeing a contract since discussions started this summer.

Commissioner for District 4 Alvin Mason said: “We’re looking at $1.6 million, and of course, there are those that understand the purpose for it to be increased, and there are those that do not want or do not see the need for an increase.”

Some of these contract features included mandatory minimums for ambulances available to Richmond County, quarterly reports on how well Gold Cross is performing, and an electronic tracking system to document ambulance response times to the city.

Gold Cross Vice President Steven Vincent said: “…emailed directly out of our dispatch software. We wouldn’t even touch it. It would be raw data, in an Excel spreadsheet, that would come straight from our system.”

Issues bubbled up around agreeing to costs of 24/7 quick response vehicles for secondary emergencies, performance bonds to hold Gold Cross accountable, and delaying the start time of the contract after it’s approved.

The hope is to settle this at the next committee meeting.

Commissioner for District 6 Ben Hasan said: “I think it’s an increase in the level of service that’s provided to the citizens of Augusta-Richmond County.”

With this moving back to the committee on Sept. 27, the plan is to bring the contract to the full commission for approval on Oct. 4.

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