The Waxahachie City Council approved a new ambulance-services contract with American Medical Services on Monday night.

The agreement will begin Jan. 3, 2019 and will run through Jan. 2, 2021. It includes provisions for optional two-year renewals.

American Medical response has served Ellis County since 2016. Residents were previously served by East Texas EMS, who announced it was pulling out of its contract because it was no longer financially feasible on Jan. 27, 2015. CareFlite then took over service while other providers were evaluated and AMR was ultimately selected.

Waxahachie Fire Chief Ricky Boyd stated the contract would include several changes.

“AMR approached us some time ago about changing the format of the present contract where they combine emergency and transfer service into one service instead of having split services. They felt that it was very inefficient and felt that they could operate with something better under one model,” Boyd said. We met with them numerous times in the last five to six months. We asked them to go into a trial period with this new model that started back in June.”

Boyd explained the trial period has proven successful and the response time has been adequate during this period.

Some of the changes in the contract include that all AMR ambulances in the county would respond both to emergency and transfers calls for service with a type-one ambulance. The type-one ambulance is a larger vehicle and allows for greater patient care. Emergency units previously were type one, and transfer units were type-three ambulances. Type-three ambulances are smaller units.

Boyd explained all new ambulance would also be white instead of red. American Medical Response was having a difficult time obtaining red units, which caused them to continue to utilize several units that were continually breaking down that proved detrimental to patient care.

The two AMR units stationed in Waxahachie will no longer be staffed with two paramedics. Instead, units will be staffed with one paramedic and one EMT like the rest of the county units.

“When AMR began services in 2016, their two Waxahachie units responded to 75 percent of the emergency calls in Waxahachie,” Boyd said. “That slowly declined to 55 percent. Therefore, we were paying for a better service that we were not actually receiving.”

Boyd stated the contract also includes clinical outcomes and dispatch processing time minimums requirements with penalties for failure to meet those standards.

The annual subsidy in the contract is $142,167. The current subsidy in the existing contract is $169,223. The decrease in the city’s subsidy has decreased due to staffing model changes.

City Manager Michael Scott stated that AMR has done an excellent job in the city under the current contract. He noted when the city has had concerns about issues with service, AMR has been responsive and worked with them to those matters.

In other business, the council denied a request for a zoning change that would create the proposed Sundance Ridge development located west of Ovilla Road and north U.S. Highway 287 Business.

In other business, developer Terry Weaver addressed the council about Sundance Ridge. The housing development is expected to contain 157 lots on about 60 acres — 64 lots are 8,400 square feet each, 57 lots that would be 10,000 square feet each, and 36 lots that would be 16,000 square foot each.

The Sundance Ridge housing development would have several amenities that would be maintained by a homeowners association. Some of these amenities include a playground, open spaces, trails, and picnic areas.

Weaver stated they would conduct a traffic impact analysis on Farm-to-Market Road 664.

City council denied the request siting not enough variety of lot sizes in the development.