DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The DeKalb County Commission has approved the purchase of seven new ambulances for the county for $1,346,231. 

The ambulances are separate from the county’s emergency medical services provider, American Medical Response, whose contract runs through the end of the month.

Two of the seven new ambulances will replace old units, two will be put in reserve, and the other three will be put in service for daily operations, according to agenda details. It is not yet known how or where the three ambulances in service will be deployed or if they will attempt to aid in reaching requirements set by Dunwoody’s memorandum of understanding with DeKalb County, which sets stricter goals for ambulance response times than the rest of DeKalb. 

The measure passed on a vote of 5-1 with one commissioner abstaining. Commissioner Nancy Jester cast the only vote against the purchase because the Employee Relations and Public Safety Committee vetted the purchase and did not request an audit, she said. 

Jester has made a stance over the last several months that she will not vote through any purchases of more than $1 million if the procurement has not been audited. This is based on recommendations from the independent assessment of DeKalb County’s procurements last September conducted by the Hartman Firm — also referred to as the Hartman Report. 

“The Board of Commissioners will not approve any contract in an amount of $1 million or greater until the Office of Independent Internal Audit has been given the opportunity to issue a report,” the report stated.

Jester has stuck to this rule in an effort to save money on large purchases. Over the last several months, audits on certain purchases of more than $1 million have saved the county close to $2 million, she said. 

The board was originally set to hear recommendations for bids for an ambulance service provider this month, but no hearings have been scheduled on the subject at this week’s meeting. The current contract with American Medical Response ends June 30 and can be extended at three-month intervals.

Three bids were submitted last month from different ambulance providers including the current provider, 

“The Request for Proposal is still under evaluation and I cannot provide additional information at this time as our procedures prohibit public disclose of information during this sealed proposal process,” Procurement Manager Cathryn Horner wrote in an email.

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