SIGNAL PEAK — Central Arizona College is partnering with local cities and American Medical Response for fire and ambulance services for its Signal Peak Campus after a five-year contract between the college and Regional Fire & Rescue ended in December.
The college put out a request for bids for a new fire and emergency medical services contract during the fall of 2019, said Angela Askey, executive director of Public Relations and Marketing for CAC. The college is required to go out for bid every time a service contract expires, she said.
Regional Fire, which is the closest fire department to the Signal Peak Campus, was the only entity to submit a bid for the contract. But on Jan. 7, Regional contacted CAC to withdraw the proposal, Askey said.
The college, which is in an unincorporated part of the county and does not fall in a fire district, reached out to AMR and the cities of Casa Grande, Eloy and Coolidge and the Gila River Indian Community to provide services. Because the campus is not in a fire district or within the limits of a city, the college can contract with a private entity, like Regional, or enter into an intergovernmental agreement with a city for fire and emergency medical services, she said.
The department withdrew its proposal after a contentious proposal meeting with CAC officials, Regional Fire Chief Steven Kerber said. The department has had a contract to provide fire and medical services to the campus for at least 15 years, he said.
In a phone call, Kerber said the Jan. 7 meeting with CAC officials did not go well, with CAC making several demands for information from the department that it has not made in the past, he said. At one point, CAC Finance Director Chris Wodka walked out of the meeting, Kerber said.
At that time, Regional announced to the remaining CAC officials at the meeting that it was withdrawing its proposal, Kerber said.
Kerber said the department is working with the Casa Grande Fire Department to smooth things over with CAC.