Monday night, the Riverside village board decided to extend the contract with the company providing paramedic services to the village for at least one more year with no price increase. The village board voted 5-0 to extend its contract with Public Safety Services Inc. (PSSI) for an annual cost of $445,050. PSSI has provided paramedic services to Riverside since 1996.
“There is no increase this year,” Riverside Fire Chief Spencer Kimura told the board. Technically the board approved a three-year contract with PSSI, but the final two years of the contract do not specify a price for the paramedic services and will go into effect only if the village and PSSI can agree on a price.
“It’s really just an extension of the current contract,” said board member Lonnie Sacchi.
Village attorney Lance Malina agreed.
“It’s really a one-year contract with an agreement to try to agree [in future years],” Malina said. “The only thing that is legally binding is the year.”
The one year covered by the contract is from Dec. 15, 2012 to Dec. 14, 2013.
Two paramedic/firefighters are to be available every day. The cost of the contract covers six paramedic/firefighters who serve Riverside.
At its Oct. 15 meeting the board is poised to raise ambulance fees. The extent of the fee increase is uncertain since board members instructed village staff to tweak their proposal to minimize the fee increase to village residents.
Under the proposal presented to the board Monday night, the ambulance fee for basic life support would increase by $100 for residents, going from $500 to $600. For non-residents, the ambulance fee for basic life support services would increase by $150, going from $650 to $700. The advanced-life-support ambulance fee would increase from $700 to $850 for residents and from $850 to $1,000 for non-residents.
But Trustee Joe Ballerine suggested raising the fee for non-residents even more while limiting the fee increase for Riverside residents.
“I would raise the non-resident fee to $1,000 across the board and raise the resident fee $50 across the board,” Ballerine said.
Trustees Mark Shevitz and Ben Sells agreed with Ballerine’s idea of reducing the fee increase for residents.
“With the residents, we should try to make the increases as low as possible,” Sells said.
Village staff will present a revised ambulance fee proposal to the village board at its Oct. 15 meeting.
The village doesn’t quite break even on ambulance fees, which are typically covered by insurance.
“Even with the changes, we don’t capture all our costs back,” said Riverside Village Manager Peter Scalera.