NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Donna Holaday announced yesterday the city has reached an agreement with Cataldo Ambulance Service to provide 911 emergency response services starting Nov. 15 and through at least next June.
The Somerville-based ambulance provider, in business since 1977, will be taking over for struggling American Medical Response, which announced earlier this year it was pulling out of Newburyport and surrounding communities and laying off workers in an effort to reduce costs.
Holaday said Cataldo is essentially taking over AMR’s contract with the city, which expires June 30, 2013, and in the process hiring some of its Newburyport-based employees.
The city’s deal with Cataldo Ambulance Service comes after a long vetting process that involved multiple meetings with fire Chief Steven Cutter, city Marshal Thomas Howard and other emergency officials. The city also reached out to officials in other communities that have hired Cataldo to obtain references, according to Holaday.
“The references were superb, very very excellent; we’re really pleased,” Holaday said.
Holaday said the city would consider extending its contract with Cataldo past June 2013, provided what she called the probation period went well.
“They understand that you also want to be sure that they perform to the level we expect,” Holaday said.
For his part, Dennis Cataldo, vice president of Cataldo Ambulance Service, said his company would be more than happy to enter into a long-term deal with the city.
“This isn’t going to be an eight-month thing. Obviously, we hope to be there for many years,” Cataldo said.
Word of the agreement, which was actually signed earlier this month, comes days after it was announced that West Newbury officials had struck a similar deal with Cataldo Ambulance Service.
According to Cataldo, negotiations are underway with Salisbury officials to reach an agreement in that neighboring town. AMR’s contract with Salisbury was expected to expire in 2014 and with West Newbury in 2015.