In a brief meeting, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District Commission directed the absent interim fire Chief Michael Sherman to discuss the ambulance contract with the district’s attorney.

The current contract expires at the end of June. The contract is between the county and IFPD for provision of emergency medical services to Pine Cove and Zone 3 — north of Pine Cove and Keenwild

In preparation, the district’s ad hoc committee, composed of commissioners Jeannine Charles-Stigall and Dr. Charles “Chip” Schelly, has had preliminary meetings with county emergency medical service staff. On Wednesday, they met with the County Service Area 38 (Pine Cove) ad hoc emergency service committee, composed of committee members Marge Muir and Robert Hewitt.

The commission also directed Sherman to discuss a letter of understanding with American Medical Response (the county ambulance service) for backup.

“We’re talking with legal counsel and chief,” said Schelly in response to a question regarding the need to consult with counsel on the contract. “We’re getting and still gathering information. No decision has been made. We’re still fact finding,”

Schelly also initiated a discussion of the current dispatch contract with Riverside County. The commission agreed that Sherman should identify whether there are any other organizations available to provide this service and what their cost might be. Schelly, in response to a question from the public, emphasized that he was not reacting to any problems with the current arrangement.

“We should be looking at all expenses … If we don’t ask [other entities for costs], we might lose opportunity to save some money,” he explained. “We’re not locked in to accepting low ball bids.”

The current dispatch contract is for about $49,600 annually, but the district receives a $10,000 credit for use of its radio frequency — channel or support 11.