County wants ruling on ads before taking ambulance deal

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

King’s Daughters Medical Center officials may have found a wayto get new ambulances, but Lincoln County supervisors first want tomake sure the emergency vehicle assistance program is allowed understate law.

Tony Lambert, KDMC’s assistant emergency medical servicesdirector, spoke to the board about a company that providesambulances and other vehicles in exchange for advertising space onthe automobiles.

“They’re making this available to aid in homeland security,”Lambert said of the private company, Government Acquisitions,Inc.

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Lambert said the company provides fully-furnished vehicles thatwould have advertising on the fenders, bumpers, trunk, hood andquarter panels. Ads for alcohol, tobacco or firearms areprohibited.

Vehicles are provided on a three-year lease for one dollar, witha new vehicle and new lease provided at the end of that timeperiod. Lambert said a fully-equipped ambulance now costs around$100,000.

“That’s a big savings if we can get that for a dollar for threeyears,” Lambert said.

However, a recent Attorney General’s opinion to Hinds Countyinvolving sheriff’s vehicles indicates there is no state authorityfor counties to use essential vehicles for advertisingpurposes.

Lambert said he had received some indications that the opinionmay not apply to ambulances. Also, mentioning conversations withDist. 39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, he said the legislature is lookingat modifying the law governing the situation.

“Once it’s reworked, there shouldn’t be a problem there,”Lambert said.

Lambert said design and advertising on the vehicles could betailored to a community.

“They will go with the theme of the community,” Lambertsaid.

Also, design and ad approval involves everyone who has aninterest in the vehicle.

“All interested parties have to approve the design,” Lambertsaid.

Supervisors elected to seek a formal Attorney General’s opinionon the vehicle matter. The board could act at a later date afterthe opinion arrives.