Volunteer recognition, Riggs contract on supervisors’ agenda

The Merced County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider extending Riggs Ambulance Service’s contract until the end of the year.

The contract is set to expire Aug. 31, but it could be extended until the end of December.

A contract extension would let Riggs continue providing ambulance service while officials go through the bidding process to select a long-term provider, according to Merced County Public Health Director Kathleen Grassi. The contract extension has a provision for early termination, she said.

“We’re taking the opportunity to extend the contract to the end of December to get through the RFP (request for proposal) process,” Grassi said. “If the timeline of the RFP process goes as we expect, we should have a contract for a permanent ambulance provider going before the board by either June or July.”

If the winning bidder is an ambulance company from out of the area, Grassi said, it could take five to six months to make the transition, another reason for the contract extension with Riggs. “We have to allow for that transition, so six months is what we’ve built in, just in case we need it,” she said.

County supervisors will also consider contracting with a retired assistant registrar of voters from Contra Costa County to assist with the June 2014 primary election. Merced County’s assistant registrar of voters, Stacey Cotter, retired March 31.

The contract with Candy Lopez from Contra Costa County is budgeted at $33,000 for 21/2 months of service, according to county documents. Lopez will provide oversight, direction and expertise in election management for the June 3 election.

The board will also consider authorizing the acceptance of $85,000 in funding from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to be used for eradication and suppression of illegal marijuana. The money will support the Sheriff’s Department for costs associated with overtime, training, aviation unit operation expenses and equipment for one year.

This is the seventh year the Sheriff’s Department has received the funding.

The board is also scheduled to recognize individual or groups of volunteers nominated each year by members of the community. County supervisors use National Volunteer Week, April 6-13, as an opportunity to thank people who make voluntary contributions throughout the year.

In District 1, Richard Macchia and Knights of Columbus will be recognized. In District 2, honors will go to the Merced Police Volunteers in Police Service and Providence Christian School, and in District 3, Holly Jenkins and Jan & Friends, a group of volunteers that entertains seniors and others in the community.

In District 4, Emily Ewing and Dot Dame will be recognized, and in District 5, Ludwig Knoester, Lynnette Gerbi and Mary Murillo.

The Board of Supervisors will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday in its chamber on the third floor of the Merced County Administration Building, 2222 M St.