RED OAK — Fire Chief Eric Thompson gave the members of the city council an overview of the proposed integration of American Medical Response (AMR) with the Red Oak Fire Department.

The city council approved the partnership for ambulance service at its meeting Tuesday night.

“We are excited to bring AMR into partnership with the fire department. That will bring to the commitment to a high quality of service to the city,” Thompson said. “Plans have been in the making and we will be training with their staff to have a coordinated effort between AMR and the department.”

The contract will initially be a three-year contract with two, two-year renewal options. The new contract will begin on Jan. 3, 2016.

“We will be reducing emergency response times from 12 minutes to nine minutes,” Thompson said.

Other services that AMR will bring include three new ambulances painted a solid red, the same as a Red Oak fire apparatus. Each ambulance will be staffed with a paramedic and an emergency medical technician. AMR will work, train and house together in the fire stations, sharing daily responsibilities and support public education and community events.

AMR will also have a presence at all three fire department facilities, increasing readiness, and availability. The ambulances will be located at 411 Red Oak Road (the public works complex), 547 Red Oak Road,(Fire Station No. 1) and 1201 Pierce Road (Fire Station No. 2).

The selection process took place in a joint request for proposal process with Ellis County, the city of Ennis, and the city of Waxahachie. During the system design, and through contract discussions, AMR remained the primary choice. The council unanimously approved the contract.

Also, in a series of action, the council approved the purchase of three new patrol cars for the police department.

“We have several vehicles that are way past their service life. We exhausted our maintenance budget last year,” Lt. Bock Boyd said.

The department has an opportunity to purchase three new units at a cost of $234,000.

“If we do not approve this now, it could be up to six months before the vehicles would be available to the city again. We are in competition with cities buying many more units,” Brock told the council.

The purchase will be funded through a bond issuance. Until the bonds are purchased and the money is available, the money will come from general funds and be repaid when the bond money is available. The total bond program is $2.6 million. Besides the police department vehicles, the money will fund city hall equipment needs as well as water and sewer projects.

A similar agreement was made with the Industrial Development Commission (IDC). For IDC growth, the IDC has identified three parcels of land to be purchased for IDC project development growth. The council unanimously approved an agreement between the city to fund the purchases.

The city will be repaid by the IDC on monthly payments for 10 years which is the same payback term as the bond term.