By SCOTT PESZNECKER
Calaveras County supervisors Monday could approve an ordinance that would allow a multi-county agency to create exclusive ambulance zones in the county.
In an October study session, supervisors said they wanted to split the county into three zones, each to be served by a single ambulance company.
They said the present system, with five ambulance companies, is inefficient, costly and confusing.
The proposed ordinance up for a first reading Monday and adoption in a month, would allow the Mountain-Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency to form three zones.
Mountain-Valley EMS, a joint-powers agency, is governed by Calaveras, Amador, Stanislaus, Alpine and Mariposa counties.
One zone would include Murphys, Angels Camp and Copperopolis, and another would encompass the territory of the Ebbetts Pass Fire District, which is based in Arnold. The third zone would cover Valley Springs, San Andreas, Mountain Ranch, Mokelumne Hill and West Point.
Companies would submit bids to serve each area and be part of Mountain-Valley EMS.
Some county residents and ambulance providers are concerned about the three-zone plan.
People living in or running ambulance companies in Valley Springs or San Andreas say their costs will go up if they are zoned with West Point. West Point has a lower call volume, so the cost in Valley Springs and San Andreas would go up to subsidize the upcountry customers.
Ambulance providers are paid by the number of calls to which they respond.