Aiken County Emergency Medical Services will obtain several new ambulances as soon as the early spring.

Council unanimously approved a resolution to purchase four ambulances from Custom Truck & Body Works, which came in as the lowest of three bids with the price of $588,104. The item was approved on Council's consent agenda during its regular meeting held on Tuesday night. Councilman Chuck Smith was not in attendance.

Capital Projects Sales Tax funds will cover the cost of the new emergency vehicles.

“I'll be glad to see them arrive,” said Councilwoman Kathy Rawls.

Councilwoman LaWana McKenzie said these vehicles will be a wonderful addition.

The new ambulances will replace several high mileage vehicles that the County is currently using. At least one of the County EMS vehicles have reached as high as 400,000 miles.

If the process goes smoothly, they hope to have the new ambulances in the spring, according to County officials.

Council members also held initial discussions about the possibility of moving the current EMS substation in Wagener into the Listine Gunter Courtney Senior Center during the Judicial and Public Safety Committee session held before the regular meeting.

County Assistant Administrator Andrew Merriman said the Courtney Center, located on Roy Street in Wagener, has an ample amount of space. He added it would be a quick transition and is virtually ready for move-in as it requires little renovation.

County Administrator Clay Killian said the station in Wagener is currently located in a vacant house but it has a few structural issues.

The station would move into the section of the community center that once housed a Department of Health and Environmental Control office. It will not interfere with community center activities or rentals.

Council members seemed to like the idea. Rawls, who is over the district that includes Wagener, said it would be a good solution. Merriman said they could start the process at the first of the year.

In other business, County employees can expect some extra cash for the holidays. The holiday pay program was part of the approved consent agenda. Approximately $400,000 that make up this program will come from salary savings in the current budget.

All full-time employees will receive $400, and part-time employees will receive $200 if they were on the payroll as of July 1. Those hired between July 1 and Dec. 1, will receive $200 if they are full-time and $100 if they are part-time.

Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010.