By James Carlini
We have all heard about the municipality in California that has paid some of its administrators with six-figure salaries as well as six-figure pensions, but we think that is a very rare occurrence and that our own municipality would never get that bad.
Look closely at your own municipality and its agencies. Are they gouging you on the price of services? Are you paying double compared to the city next door?
I would have never thought that about my small Midwest community, but after needing an ambulance, I was in shock when we got the bill. We already pay for the fire department, East Dundee Fire Protection District (Illinois), and its pension fund on two separate line items on our property tax bill. What are we paying for? Where does all that money go?
About a month and a half ago, my wife needed to go to the hospital. I called 911 and they sent out an ambulance. They came and took my wife to the community hospital. A few weeks later, we received the bill.
The total amount shocked me – $1,005.00 to go 5.5 miles. The only breakdown of the bill was $950.00 for the Ambulance service and $10.00 per mile for mileage ($55.00) for a total of $1,005.00. Nothing else was specified as it is on the tables below for neighboring municipalities A and B.
Some would say, just turn it into your insurance and see what they pick up. We did that but I still thought it was an excessive bill with no real explanation of services.
My wife did not require any extraordinary medical services while in the ambulance, so I did not understand the charges. I then looked up what it would cost from surrounding communities. I was in shock at the difference in taking a person the same distance from the community next door.
AMBULANCE RATES FROM A MUNICIPALITY “A” NEXT DOOR
Resident – Basic Life Support: $370.60 plus mileage
Resident – Advanced Life Support I: $440.09 plus mileage
Resident – Advanced Life Support II: $636.98 plus mileage
Non-Resident – Basic Life Support: $741.20 plus mileage
Non-Resident – Advanced Life Support I: $880.18 plus mileage
Non-Resident – Advanced Life Support II: $1273.96 plus mileage
Mileage: $8.86 per mile
AMBULANCE RATES FROM A MUNICIPALITY “B” NEXT DOOR
Resident – Basic Life Support: $350.00 plus mileage
Resident – Advanced Life Support I: $500.00 plus mileage
Resident – Advanced Life Support II: $600.00 plus mileage
Non-Resident – Basic Life Support: $425.00 plus mileage
Non-Resident – Advanced Life Support I: $525.00 plus mileage
Non-Resident – Advanced Life Support II: $650.00 plus mileage
Mileage: $10.00 per mile
If I compare the rates from my village to village “A” next door, I see that their rates are more than 50% LESS. Advanced life Support Level I is only $440.09 plus mileage. Even if she was rated at using Advanced Life Support Level II, it still is only $636.98 compared to the $950.00 plus mileage charged to us. Our ambulance rate is still 50% HIGHER than our neighboring community. WHY?
The same goes for pricing from village “B”. How come they are so significantly less?
Maybe I should have requested one of their ambulances to come pick my wife up because it would have cost us substantially less. The funny thing is that they do pick up people in our village due to the mutual aid agreement that they have with Municipality A.
GOUGING? MISMANAGED? OR BOTH?
In questioning my community, are you gouging me for services or is your agency so mismanaged? Do you have to charge over 50% more than the neighboring community for ambulance services? Neither reason is acceptable.
And, where is the schedule of fees and services? Nothing is posted on East Dundee Fire Protection District’s website as to ambulance charges and a breakdown of fees. Why not? There should be a clear list of service fees.
You hear so many government agencies and their employees whine about parity and being paid the same as surrounding areas. What about providing the same level of services? If you cannot match the cost of services, maybe it’s because your overhead is too high. Maybe we should just consolidate you into another agency and get some economies of scale?
It’s time to start reviewing ALL government services and determine whether or not they are being well-run or mismanaged. Consolidation of municipal services and little fiefdoms must be considered as a better alternative, especially when costs are so skewed for the same services.
Are you getting your money’s worth from your municipality? Start making them accountable.
CARLINI-ISM : Government services must be cost-effective because if they are not, they need to be reformed or consolidated and replaced in these poor economic times.