Ambulance service is something most people take for granted, but apparently not in Westminster.
The City Council voted 4-1 on March 28 to continue working with Shoreline Ambulance. Councilmember Andy Quach voted no.
The Huntington Beach-based company has been Westminster’s emergency transport provider since 2007.
“I would like to support a local business who understands the community it serves,” said Tri Ta, mayor pro tem. “In the last five years we have not received complaints about Shoreline.”
The decision came after a show of overwhelming public support for Shoreline. Mayor Margie Rice said she and the council had received several phone calls and letters supporting Shoreline in the weeks before the council meeting.
“You are quite popular and evidently you’ve done good service,” she told Giovanni Chiarella, Shoreline president.
The company not only provides great emergency service, but also community service, several told the council.
Shoreline sponsors many local events and its employees volunteer at several community organizations.
“Shoreline employees are professional, courteous and hardworking,” said Helen Ortega of the Westminster Boys and Girls Club.
The city and Shoreline will enter into a three-year contract with two one-year options. Cost for the first three years is just over $2.5 million.
City staff and Westminster Police Department officials had recommended Care Ambulance Services. Care’s bid was more than $100,000 lower for the first three years. Care also scored higher in the WPD’s rating process.
Of chief concern to police officials was Shoreline’s inadequate radio equipment.
“Shoreline relied on cellular technology and texting to communicate between dispatch and drivers,” said Lt. Eric Marsh.
But Shoreline has since purchased new radio equipment, Chiarella said.
While Care’s proposal called for two ambulances dedicated to Westminster, Shoreline said it would dedicate three.
“We think the city needs three ambulances,” Chiarella said. “After five years, we know the response needs of the city.”
One ambulance costs about $200,000 per year to staff and maintain, Chiarella added.
In the end, the details didn’t matter to the council as much as the will of the people.
“It seems to me our residents would like to stay with Shoreline,” Ta said.