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Shelby County to provide ambulance services

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Shelby County Commission has voted to provide its own ambulance services in a meeting Monday afternoon.

The commission voted unanimously for the ordinance which will allow the services to be run by the Shelby County Fire Department.

The unincorporated parts of Shelby County, Arlington, Lakeland and Millington would utilize the services.

Twelve new ambulances and 60 employees who would be cross trained as firefighters would make up the fleet.

"It's a public safety issue. It's sensible," said Commissioner Van Turner. "If it's saving us money, it's a public safety issue that has to be addressed then I don't see how we can go against it."

The current company contracted to provide the service, AMR, is planning to nearly double their rates.

The county also approved all of the fees associated with the measure which is a 12 percent increase or about $4 for the average family.

Arlington, Lakeland and Millington all pay fees associated with the ambulance services.

The commission also voted to purchased 12 ambulances.

Shelby County Fire would take over starting January 1.