CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Cleveland City Council members on Friday announced their intent to consider establishing a city ambulance service if a business plan developed over the next three months is favorable.
City Attorney John Kimball told council members the resolution they passed allows them to reserve their right to establish an ambulance service without county interference.
The vote was 5-1. Richard Banks voted no, and Bambi Hines was absent.
Mr. Banks said his no vote reflects his belief the county cannot prevent the city from establishing an ambulance service. He also said the public notice for Friday's vote left the impression the resolution would in fact establish an ambulance service rather than consider one.
Mr. Banks deplored the bickering by city and county officials over a fire contract and perhaps ambulance services.
"This rock throwing business, I think, needs to stop," Mr. Banks said.
He invited city and county officials, and personally called County Mayor D. Gary Davis, to come to a 5 p.m. "informal summit" Thursday at the Chamber of Commerce to seek to mend the city/county rift.
"What goes on here today will be read in Germany. It will be read in the corporate offices of Wacker. It will be read in those corporate offices of suppliers looking to locate in Bradley County," Mr. Banks said.
Wacker Chemical Corp. plans to invest $1 billion in a plant here, and Volkswagen is building next door in Hamilton County.
County Emergency Medical Services Director Danny Lawson pleaded with the council Friday to make up with the county and reconsider the ambulance option. Council members agreed the county ambulance service is the state's best.
Councilmen George Poe and Avery Johnson said the city had to act before Monday, when county commissioners are set to vote on a resolution asserting the county's right to control emergency medical service countywide.
"I think we are forced, if they are going to take away our contract between the city and the county," Mr. Johnson said.