City council considering eliminating ambulance service

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) -- "The city believes they can eliminate some manning by getting rid of the ambulances."

This city is working on a plan to save money - the fire department doesn't like it.

The City of Mattoon might be getting rid of their ambulance service, and the city council could vote on that this week.

Two other privately-owned ambulance services are currently running in the city. A draft of a council resolution says they believe those two can meet everyone's needs.

The city says this is because of budget issues. In the past, the city tried to balance their budget by cutting back on the number of firefighters.

Now, the ambulance service is on the chopping block. The city says they believe that terminating the service won't have a negative impact on the community.

The fire department disagrees with the city council. They say if you need an ambulance, you could be waiting a little longer under the new proposal.

The station in Mattoon has three ambulances, two of those are staffed.

The department added the service about ten years ago to fill what they say was a medical coverage gap in the area.

"The fire department and union at that time stepped up and said we need to fill this void. So at that time, we were actually going through a reduction in manning, we actually reduced manning and increased service to provide for the citizens of Mattoon. We believe that the service is essential to the citizens of Mattoon."

If the resolution is passed, it wouldn't take effect until may of next year.

The fire department says this would take the number of ambulances in the city down to three or four.

Statistics show the number of calls the station gets has been steadily increasing every year.

Revenue from the ambulance service has also been steadily increasing each year. Fire department records show a net revenue of more than half a million dollars over the last three years.

This resolution will be considered at the Mattoon city council meeting on Tuesday night at 6:30pm. It will be open for you to hear both sides of the issue, and anyone can speak at the meeting.


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