American Medical Response received a unanimous vote in Tuesday’s council meeting for a five percent rate increase.

Representatives for AMR, Ambulance Board Director Patty Wininger and AMR regional manager Charles Grady, talked briefly with councilors as to why a request for a rate increase was needed.

“We’ve been looking at what other communities have done, and we set this five percent increase, benchmarking other communities,” Wininger said.

Grady added that the biggest reason for the increase was the cost of fuel. On Tuesday, local fuel outlets had lowered costs bringing the average price per gallon down another six cents from the previous week.

“The way gas and diesel are going up, it costs more for our suppliers to bring us our supplies,” Grady said. “Also, our vehicles run on diesel, so the cost is going up really all over the board.”

Frieda said a rate increase had not been negotiated in some time, and five percent seemed possible without any kind of financial issues.

Councilors unanimously voted for the rate increase.

In a related item councilors were to consider amending certain provisions in Resolution No. 1466 which allow AMR to be the sole provider of ambulance service in Duncan. Because of the rate increase passed, Frieda asked the item be tabled until the June 14 meeting so more information could be gathered before making a decision.

Remaining items from Tuesday’s meeting:

n Councilors again talked briefly about the renewal of a franchise agreement with Centerpoint Energy, the successor of ARKLA Gas Company.

City Attorney David Hammond said the contract is up for renewal as the current 25 year contract expires in November.

“We used a 25 year contract, which by law is the longest we could have with a franchise contract,” Hammond said.

Currently, Hammond is negotiating through some changes being made in the contract, but assured talks are going well with representatives from Centerpoint. Hammond also said more information is available about when the special election will be held for the renewal.

“We must have a proclamation 60 days before the election,” Hammond said. “So we are setting the election right now for Sept. 23 of this year.”

Hammond said the contract should be ready to be proclaimed in the June 14 meeting to be ready for the September special election.

No action was taken on this item.

n Councilors also took action to remove the Duncan Pointe Addition Homeowners Association and accept the Duncan Pointe Addition public improvements dedications.

The Duncan Planning Commission met May 17 to approve the item for the council’s consent. However, they added that the city should only accept the dedication and dissolve the homeowner’s association if seven prerequisites are met. Those prerequisites revolve mostly around certain upgrades being done and repairs made to streets, property and detention areas.

n A contract with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (SWBTC), doing business as AT&T Oklahoma was also approved in Tuesday’s meeting.

The contract was tabled from the May 10 council meeting by Frieda because the new mapping contract with Visual Lease needed to be approved for the wireless E911 system, before this contract could be approved for SWBTC to be the service provider for the system.

Along the same topic, Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said the new Duncan comm. center was quickly coming together.

“We have all the electrical run, the radios are ready in Lawton,” Ford said. “We just need (Visual Leasing) to take the mapping back to California to turn it into software which we can put into the hardware and install it all.”

Ford said it would be early June when the new furniture and consoles are delivered for the comm. center.

With the passing of the mapping contract earlier in Tuesday’s meeting, the contract with SWBTC was able to be approved unanimously by the council.

n In an addendum item added to Tuesday’s meeting, councilor’s had to appoint someone to the board of trustees for the Duncan Hospital Authority.

Councilors appointed Richard Dixon to fill the vacant spot.

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