Ravenna Mayor Paul Jones proposed the service in November as a way to provide transportation for patients who need non-emergency medical treatment and to generate additional revenue for the city's general fund.
The transport fee would be $475, Ravenna Finance Director Kimble Cecora said.
Ravenna City Council adopted an ordinance Monday that set up financial accounts and appropriated funds to the transport service at 35 percent of the expected expenses for 1999.
Interim Fire Chief James DiPaola said the city is researching whether the paramedics need additional liability insurance to cover non-emergency transports.
Original projections estimated the service, aimed at non-ambulatory patients of Robinson Memorial Hospital, two area nursing homes and the Portage County Kidney Center, would generate more than $400,000 without excessive overhead costs.
Recent projections, based on an average of one transport per day, estimate the service would generate about $25,000 per year and cost about $16,000, leaving a profit of about $9,000.
"This is a rough projection based on a minimum number of trips, because we're not sure how many calls we'll get," DiPaola said. "Since we've never done this before, we sat down and put a model together, and we took some figures from that."
DiPaola said he is unsure how additional insurance costs will affect the profit margin.
He said the city's service would join a list of about four private ambulance companies in the area that provide similar services.
"Patients at Robinson Memorial Hospital may have to wait two to three hours for a private ambulance from out of town to take them home," DiPaola said. "That's a long time when you're trying to get home and get comfortable. If we're here to do that and we can do it in a reasonable amount of time, that's just another service we can provide."
Jones said the service will benefit the city's elderly residents.
"About 18 years ago, we began the emergency medical service in our fire department, and it has progressed into a first-rate operation," Jones said in a prepared statement. "As I look back, the lives it has saved cannot even begin to be calculated. It is a pleasure to now offer this new important service to our residents."