ES aldermen vote to increase fire, EMS fees

Friday, February 12, 2016

Eureka Springs aldermen voted in Monday night's city council meeting to increase fees for fire and EMS services.

Ordinance 2238 amends section 2.44.09 regarding charges for fire and EMS services.

Aldermen voted 5-0 Monday to approve the ordinance on its first reading.

Proposed fees listed in Ordinance 2238 include:

* Basic life support non-emergency: $500

* Basic life support emergency: $550

* Advanced life support level one non-emergency: $600

* Advanced life support level one emergency: $700

* Advanced life support level two all: $850

* Specialty care personnel: $950

* Loaded mileage: $10 mile

* Advanced life support level one: $300

* Advanced life support level two: $850

* Facility assist: $150

* Discount 10 percent for accounts paid in full 30 days.

Eureka Springs Fire Chief Randy Ates was on hand during Monday night's meeting to answer aldermen's questions and Mayor Butch Berry gave a brief explanation about why the city needs to increase the fees.

"It's something we have been looking at and discussing in the past six to eight months," Berry said. "They haven't been adjusted in a long time. We have included some fees that weren't in [the ordinance] before."

Ates said the city could generate an additional $10,000 to $20,000 in revenue.

"Since most of the things on here are new and have not been charged for in the past, I can't give you an answer," he said.

"Ambulance standbys at private events weren't charged for and we used to use overtime and ate cost."

Alderman David Mitchell thanked Ates for being "remarkably candid and open" in answering aldermen's questions about ambulance fees in the last six months.

"It's very promising the opportunity is there to increase some revenue sources," he said.

Ates also mentioned raising fees for responding to fire alarm calls at motels.

"There are frequent fire alarm calls at motels and we ask motel owners to fix the problem and they often don't," he said. "We have to treat each one as if it's a real call and it puts our personnel at risk and we rack up expenses, fuel, mileage so we hope the fees deter the unnecessary calls."

In other business, aldermen:

* Voted 5-0 in favor of passing Ordinance 2236 regarding home occupations on its second reading.

* Voted 5-0 in favor of passing Ordinance 2237 on its second reading to amend city code to clarify storage at home occupation building contractor businesses.

* Voted 5-0 in favor of passing Ordinance 2238 on its second reading to rezone 120 South Main from R-1 to C-1.

* Voted 5-0 to pass Resolution No. 675 on its first reading. The resolution authorizes the amendment and restatement of the city's Valic employee retirement plan.

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