By Treena Mielke
Rimbey town council has decided to terminate its contract with Alberta Health Services (AHS) .
Council voted 4-1 March 9 to turn the ambulance service back to the province.
Coun. Paul Payson voted against the decision.
“I felt that the entire process was quite rushed and I wasn’t a hundred per cent sure that it was the best move,” he said after the meeting. “It all happened so quickly. It might have been better to enter into a (one) year contract and know more about the process.”
Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson said financial concerns prompted council to opt out of owning the ambulance service. “We are in a very tight budget condition and that is a concern.”
He noted AHS is slow in reimbursing the losses incurred by the ambulance service and added that the town has waited 14 months for about $8,000 that was to be reimbursed for a loss incurred in 2010.
“We still haven’t seen that money and that is a concern.”
While the mayor said the future of the ambulance is uncertain, he believes the service will stay in town.
“They have assured us that if we terminate the lease the service will stay here.”
The town’s CAO Tony Goode said there is a six-month transition period before any changes to the ambulance take place.
“Once we give notice we have a 180-day window,” he said.
The town owns two ambulances that are under a contract with AHS. They have another older ambulance used as a stand by, mostly for private functions.