By Ray King

Two committees of the Pine Bluff City Council on Wednesday recommended that the city offer a new 10-year contract to Emergency Ambulance Service Inc. (EASI) replacing the current five-year contract which has three years remaining on it.

The Public Safety and Public Health and Welfare Committees met jointly by Zoom and Council Member Win Trafford, who chairs the Public Safety Committee brought up the idea of the new contract.

“They (EASI) have been here 50 years and they have stepped up to the plate and done us right,” Trafford said.

He said that the company has a little over 10 years remaining on a bank loan they took out to buy and refurbish the two buildings on West 5th Avenue that formerly belonged to Smart Chevrolet.

Trafford said the company had made a large commitment to Pine Bluff, their corporate headquarters is in Pine Bluff and Pine Bluff is the only city the company provides service to where there is no automatic renewal in the contract.

Council member Ivan Whitfield, who is the chairman of the Public Health and Welfare Committee said the company had provided great and they are not going to go away anytime soon.

Josh Bishop, who is CEO of EASI said the new contract would really help on the business side, making some of the financial paperwork easier.

Mayor Shirley Washington said her office in the past received a few complaints about EASI but “I can’t tell you the last time we’ve had a complaint.”

Trafford said the proposal will be sent to the City Attorney’s Office to draft an ordinance and both committees recommended that the ordinance be approved.