Fayetteville wants Central EMS to buy property

Posted: October 30, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Becky Stewart (from left), chief for Central Emergency Medical Services, joins Owen McAdoo, finance director, and Steve Harrison, assistant chief, in examining the vehicle bay Aug. 17 at the current Fayetteville Fire Department's Fire Prevention Bureau at 833 N. Crossover Road. The ambulance authority executive committee is in the process of purchasing the structure for use as a station for Central EMS after the City Council voted Tuesday to sell the facility.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Staff will recommend the City Council accept Central EMS officials' lower bid for city-owned property, officials say.

Fayetteville Fire Department vehicles sit Aug. 17 at the current Fire Prevention Bureau at 833 N. Crossover Road. The ambulance authority executive co...

The ambulance service is a public good, providing safety and health, City Attorney Kit Williams said. The city should accept the lowest bid of two submitted for property at 833 N. Crossover Road, he said.

What’s next?

The Fayetteville City Council will consider the bids for property at 833 N. Crossover Road during a regular meeting at 5 p.m. Nov. 7. The building is currently used by Fayetteville fire marshals, who will move into a new location at 4140 S. School Ave. after an old fire station is remodeled. No deadline has been set for the move.

Source: Staff report

Central EMS

Central EMS has served in Fayetteville and Washington County as the advanced life support ambulance service since 1980. The service covers about 920 square miles that includes Fayetteville, Elkins, Farmington, Goshen, Greenland, Lincoln, Prairie Grove, Tontitown, Johnson, West Fork and Winslow. The service also covers the University of Arkansas and more than 30 miles of Interstate 49. The service area includes all areas of Washington County except for Springdale. This year’s overall budget is about $10 million.

Source: Staff report

The council will decide Nov. 7 whether to pick Central EMS over On Time Appraisals, the high bidder.

Central EMS bid $175,000 for the property. Stuart Sanders, the appraisal company owner, bid $177,000, according to city records.

Sanders said he bid on the property because it is undervalued. He called Central EMS a business that should not get a break from the city.

The ambulance service is funded by charging patients for transportation and with fees from Washington County and member cities. Those cities include Fayetteville, which pays $445,895 annually.

Fire Chief David Dayringer released records earlier this week showing a city staff committee chose Central EMS.

"We believe it is in the citizens' best interest to have a permanent location for Central EMS on the east side of the city to better provide emergency services," according to the staff report.

Sanders said that choice is wrong because his bid is the highest. He said he intends to attend the council meeting.

Williams said the building could accommodate an ambulance station because it was built with emergency workers and equipment in mind. Owning the property may save Central EMS money, which could, in turn, save the city money, he added.

The building, called the Fire Prevention Bureau, has housed fire marshals since about 1985, Dayringer said. The city bought the property from University Baptist Church for $1 in 1977, he said in email.

A property value is not listed on county assessor records, but Reed and Associates appraised the property at $162,000 in July.

A Reed and Associates employee said she could not talk about the appraisal without consent from the city. Also, the appraiser who did the report was out of town. Williams said an appraisal is not required by the city.

Central EMS officials looked at the property and bid $162,000 in August. Sanders also placed a bid, so the City Council decided to have the sealed bid process, officials said. Bidding ended Oct. 12.

The move to buy the property is part of an effort to create long-term stability at the ambulance service and to have services on Central EMS property, officials said previously. The city's 2,747-square-foot property would become an ambulance station and replace the one on Crossover Road that the service leases for $700 a month.

Besides the station on Crossover Road, the ambulance service leases two other properties -- a building in Farmington for $3,250 a month to store spare ambulances and parking space near Station 1 on South School Avenue for $300 month, Stewart said.

The Central EMS executive committee approved an architectural firm to look at building a headquarters that would move operations under one roof. Any plans or cost estimates for that project are not expected until early next year, officials have said.

NW News on 10/30/2017