Mission to re-solicit proposals for emergency ambulance services

After extending the city’s contract with Med-Care EMS, the council voted to reject the current proposal for 911 emergency ambulance services and have the bids re-submitted and looked over by the Ambulance Board.

The City of Mission originally received one proposal response. The item was brought up during this week’s city council meeting.

City of Mission logo“Hidalgo County EMS was found non-responsive by not submitting signed and executed a solicitation award form,” Purchasing Director Eduardo Belmarez said.

Council member Ruben Plata asked if the departments had received a notice of renewal, and Belmarez said they tend to anticipate renewal through contracts management.

Plata said he had contacted members of the Ambulance Board and they were not aware that the city was up for renewal in these services, and it was his understanding that the board typically reviewed this item in the past.

“There’s no requirement in the ordinance that it be presented to the Ambulance Board,” City Attorney Abiel Flores said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Norie Gonzalez Garza asked about the purpose of the Ambulance Board, which has not met since June 2017, and Flores said it was created in order to consider anything dealing with ambulance and emergency services.

Emergency Management Coordinator James Cardoza said that the board was overseen by the previous mayor, Norberto Salinas, who was the executor of the board. The meetings kept getting delayed, even when the city was 45 days away from the end of the contract.

“At that point we brought it up, [Salinas] said hold off,” Cardoza said. “Elections came through, and when it was presented it was too short to take it to the Ambulance Board. We tried to make a meeting with the board members and we couldn’t, it is really difficult.”

Cardoza also brought up that they wanted to include a change in the scope of service provided such as adding a rotor for a helicopter that would allow citizens emergency access to helicopter and fixed-wing services.

Mayor Armando O’caña clarified that the city does not intend to purchase a helicopter or airplane, but find a way for people to have access within the first hour of an emergency.

The current contract with Med-Care EMS has been extended until Sept. 28, but mayor and council hope to meet earlier in order to re-solicit bids as soon as possible.

Council began discussing the validity of the Ambulance Board, and the consensus was that they should meet in order to evaluate the proposals that will be brought up.

Council also authorized city staff to begin negotiations with a firm for comprehensive storm drainage assessment.

Mission received four proposals for the drainage assessment, and staff concluded that L & G Engineering and Tedsi Infrastructure Group were the most qualified for the job.

O’caña recommended Tedsi, because L & G is currently undergoing a drainage assessment of Precinct 3 and Hidalgo County.

Martinez suggested the city wait on going through with the assessment until after the county’s is complete, in order to save money and focus on the problem areas in Mission. Gonzalez Garza said with an upcoming election in November potentially bringing approximately $150 million of drainage money for Hidalgo County, the city should wait until after that to conduct a city evaluation.

“The outlets are not the only problem we have in Mission,” O’caña said. “I have ten major questions for this engineering firm to answer for the City of Mission. The first one is why was 80 percent of Mission under water [in regards to the flood in June]?”

O’caña said he did not want to delay the assessment and wanted to get answers for people who were flooded in Mission. City Manager Martin Garza, Jr. said that he thought a drainage assessment plan was necessary for the city because the last one they created was in 1995.

Council voted to negotiate with Tedsi Infrastructure Group for an assessment contract, and approved the motion.

The city will also be going through with implementing employee engagement surveys within city departments.

Council received two proposals, one from Organizational Health Diagnostic and Development Corporation, which would involve two phases, the first of which would be free, and one from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Director of Economic Research Michael Uhrbrock, which would cost about $5,000.

“The survey would allow the city to evaluate and improve the goals, communication and leadership of the organization and its departments,” City Manager Martin Garza said. “The idea would be to also allow employees from other departments to participate in a survey on how our HR Department is communicating to the departments and the employees themselves.”

The council approved the motion.

Mission will be utilizing the services of Ecolectrics USA to conduct a solar power feasibility study on every city-owned building. This initial contract would be at no cost, but there is no word on how long the study would last.

“It’s a good start for a greener Mission,” said O’caña.

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