Tinley Park trustees voted Tuesday night to drop the village’s longtime ambulance services provider in favor of a new company, a move village officials said would save the village about $800,000 over the life of the contract.
A new agreement, between Kurtz Ambulance Service and Tinley Park, is worth $3,758,531 and lasts four years from Aug. 1 through July 31, 2018. Kurtz will replace Tinley Park’s current provider, Trace Ambulance.
Under the agreement, Tinley Park will see an increase in ambulances dedicated to the village from four to five during peak service hours, Public Safety Chairman Brian Maher said. All ambulances servicing the village will also be required to be equipped with GPS systems.
“We’re getting a more sophisticated system with Kurtz in terms of tracking ambulances,” Maher said, noting that village officials will be able to pull up each ambulance’s location under the new agreement. That capability would not be there with Trace, Maher said.
More than 5,000 emergency calls for service come in to Tinley Park each year, Emergency Management Agency Director Pat Carr has said.
Kurtz Ambulance Service provides ambulance services to 26 different communities around the Chicagoland region, Kurtz COE Tom Vana said. Vana said his company would give hiring preference to paramedics currently working in the village and said it had already received over 40 resumes from locals waiting to see if Kurtz received the contract.
Through its family and management team, Trace has been the town’s ambulance provider since 1979 except for one brief interruption, Trace President Christopher Vandenberg told the village’s Public Safety Committee earlier this year. At that meeting, Vandenberg reminded village officials that the one time Tinley Park went with another company in the 1990s the vendor went bankrupt.
Trace Ambulance is based in Tinley Park.
One woman stood up to question the board’s commitment to local businesses in light of the ambulance contract situation.
“As a board, as a village, we preach shop Tinley Park,” the resident said. “We’re sitting with an ambulance company that has given us great service over the years yet we’re willing to throw that away?”
After the meeting, Maher said the village has a policy that it will select the local vendor in situations where there is a 5 percent difference between proposals. But that was not the case between Kurtz and Trace.
“I can’t justify paying 21 percent more just because the company is here in Tinley,” Maher said.