Residents in a number of Blair County municipalities received good news after Altoona's Act 47 coordinator pulled a proposal for the city to start its own ambulance service from the city's recovery plan.
Coordinator Stevens & Lee PC of Reading surprised many by initially suggesting that Altoona should investigate starting its own ambulance service through the fire department as a way of bringing additional income to the city.
It was an ill-formed idea that could have resulted in additional red ink for the city and doomed the ambulance service that many area residents had relied on for decades by making it financially impossible for AMED to continue.
Commendably, Altoona officials and AMED leaders immediately recognized the potential obstacles and presented arguments that led Stevens & Lee to pull that proposal from its final recovery plan going to City Council for approval.
It was one of more than a dozen changes in the recovery plan made after the Act 47 coordinators received feedback from city officials and the public.
Having the city start an ambulance service never made sense from the start. As city officials pointed out, additional firefighters would have to be added, to staff the service and the firefighters' pay scale is higher than that for AMED.
And the loss of calls from the city could have made it financially impossible for AMED to survive, threatening emergency medical service in outlying areas.
The latest changes in the recovery plan make it more likely that City Council will approve the plan Wednesday night and for area residents to rest easier knowing the threat to AMED has been removed.