In a special meeting Monday, the commissioners opened quotes for ambulance service in preparation for the expiration of TransCare's current contract at the end of the year.
Two companies submitted quotes, while Putnam County Operation Life, Greencastle, sent notification they were not interested in providing a quote.
Both TransCare, Terre Haute, and Rural/Metro Ambulance, Indianapolis, provided quotes of $194,295 for the upcoming year, but the additional terms differed.
Rural/Metro requested the quoted amount to be allotted annually with a three-year term, while TransCare requested a five-year contract, with the subsidy amount to increase 3 percent annually.
To ensure county residents would receive the best service possible, the commissioners took the matter under advisement, and will reconvene at a date no later than their regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 7 to make a decision and possibly enter into contract negotiations.
However, they did take the time to inquire about the services Rural/Metro has to offer Clay County as Paramedic Dan Pennington was in attendance, representing the company.
Pennington told the commissioners Rural/Metro would need to find housing in the county should they receive the contract, and would have one base set up in both Brazil and Clay City.
With response time a large concern in the local community and the commissioners, the question was asked how many ambulances would be available at any given time.
"Until we are able to accurately determine the volume of runs, we will probably have three trucks staffed, but the third may be as a standby until then," Pennington said.
Citing the only information about daily runs available at this time is the average of 4.2 emergency runs, Pennington explained it may take a little time to figure out just how many staffed vehicles would be needed.
"We know there are a lot more than just the emergency runs with transfers and non-emergency calls," he said. "Should the volume of runs call for a fourth staffed ambulance in the county, we will do whatever it takes to be successful."
Pennington added Rural/Metro would also provide coverage at special events throughout the county and while there is a shortage of paramedics in the country, his company has been "blessed" as they are well staffed in that area.
"Our company does a lot of special event coverage, including at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," he said.
Curious as to how Rural/Metro would work with first responders within Clay County, the commissioners inquired about the company's experience in that field.
"First responders must be involved because they are necessary in order to be successful," Pennington said. "There are times when they will be first on the scene and everyone has to work together to maintain the best care for patients as possible."
Knowing the commissioners were going to take some time to review the Rural/Metro and TransCare proposals, Pennington emphasized that he strived for the best.
"If everyone isn't willing to work together or be on the same page, I want no part of this," he said, adding he would be in charge of operations locally. "If a decision can be made in the next week or so, it will take a lot of work to get set up by Jan. 1, but I think we can do it."
The next regular meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be 9 a.m., Monday, Dec. 7, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.