Leave Only Footprints program wins award from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.By John Mullen

November 8, 2018 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA®) – Orange Beach’s effort to start a city ambulance service is not in any way due to the service currently provided in the city from MedStar, Mayor Tony Kennon said.

“Our vote is no way a reflection on the performance or lack of in any way,” Kennon said. “It’s strictly we have the financial wherewithal to provide the services. Our goal is to have second-to-none service for our residents and our emergency people.”

City of Orange Beach, Alabama, logo.During the regular session, the council voted to spend more than $650,000 to renourish beaches east of Perdido Pass with sand dredged from the channel by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

During the work session, the council discussed a resolution to authorize the purchase of two ambulances from the Houston-Galveston Area Council. It will likely be voted on at the Nov. 13 regular session meeting.

Fire Chief Justin Pearce said the cost of the two units will be about $850,000 and revenue from the service will pay personnel costs, Finance Director Ford Handley said. The plan is to hire six new firefighters and man the ambulances with experienced paramedics already on the force.

Kennon said inherent traffic problems in the resort town and all over South Baldwin County have hampered response times in Orange Beach.

“It’s almost impossible for an outside agency to provide just strictly from the logistics of moving south through the traffic and moving about with all that’s going on in the summer,” Kennon said. “This is no reflection on MedStar in any negative way. It’s just our ability to do something most folks aren’t able to do for our citizens.”

Rebekah McCarron of MedStar said the company has enjoyed a long relationship with Orange Beach and will continue to provide backup service as needed.

“We appreciate the city’s business and partnership over the last 15 years and we appreciate you meeting with us and talking about the possible proposal,” McCarron said. “We look forward to making it a really smooth transition for the citizens of Orange Beach.”

Kennon said MedStar will likely be called on during the busy summer months.

“There are plenty of times in the summer when we’ve got more than two running so we’ll need MedStar there with us throughout the summer,” Kennon said. “We feel like we can get our own ambulances and staff them here on the island and be able to be at your doorstep in three to four minutes ready to transport.”

Pearce said once ordered the ambulances could be delivered in late spring of 2019.

DREDGING PERDIDO PASS

Kennon said Coastal Resources Director Phillip West’s efforts led to the Corps giving the sand from Perdido Pass to the city.

“You pulled a hat trick getting it done,” Kennon told West. “I know what you accomplished and you saved us a ton of money. That is a lot of beach-quality sand and that is a huge efficiency and economy of scale being able to get that much sand where we need it without having to bring in the full-blown beach renourishment.”

In past dredging operations, the Corps didn’t make the sand available to the city.

“This is a first,” Kennon said. “The Corps is going to allow us to take the material that they dredge the pass with and place it where we think it needs placed. If FEMA comes on board and helps us (the costs) could be cut in half but we can’t count on it.”

Councilman Jeff Boyd, also an avid fisherman, said some of the bigger boats are already scraping bottom in the pass and the dredging is timely.

“To have them come back and do this is a big deal,” Boyd said. “We’ve had some big boats bottoming out in the pass recently where turbulence has caused some things to build back up. It’s very well needed.”

The council approved the resolution to help restore damage to beaches eroded by hurricanes Gordon, Nate and Michael. Some of the sand will also be used on eroded areas on Bird Island.

West also announced the Leave Only Footprints program received a Marine and Environmental award from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

“The foundation selects two recipients each year one to an individual and one to an agency or program,” West said. “Ours is a joint program with Gulf Shores and the CVB is our marketing arm for that program. A lot of hands came together to keep the stuff off the beach.”

West was going to make the same presentation to the Gulf Shores council for its role in the program and thanked Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism President and CEO Herb Malone for his organization’s marketing efforts.

During the regular session, the council also approved a liquor license application for The Flying Harpoon 2 on Perdido Beach Boulevard.

During the work session, the council discussed:

  • Setting meeting dates for the Orange Beach Solid Waste Authority and the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance Board of Adjustment. Nov. 13 was the suggested date for both meetings.
  • A resolution to hire McCollough Architecture, Inc., to provide an architectural floor plan and life safety plan for the new Public Works Building in an amount not to exceed $1,800.
  • A resolution authorizing the purchase of a 2019 Dodge Durango for the Police Department from State Bid in the amount of $24,139.17.
  • A resolution extending the entertainment districts at The Wharf and at San Roc Cay Marina / Perdido Beach Resort.
  • A resolution awarding the bid for audiovisual equipment for the Event Center. Bids will be opened on Nov 8.
  • A resolution for an agreement with Baldwin County for the use of voting machines for municipal elections.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a Medical Services Agreement with Southern Rapid Healthcare.
  • A resolution authorizing execution of a Memorandum of Understanding with Escambia County and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for conservation enhancement.
  • A resolution authorizing the execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., for project engineering services.
  • A resolution reappointing Patricia Underwood to the Library Board.