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updated: 3/28/2011 9:59 PM

Remaining members to pay more for Tri-City Ambulance service

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Cities and townships served by Tri-City Ambulance will pay more beginning May 1 to make up for the departure of the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District and its money.

Tri-City intends to keep using five ambulances, for at least the next year, St. Charles Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Schelstreet told the St. Charles government services committee Monday night. The committee approved Tri-City's 2011-12 budget, which is included in the St. Charles city budget yet to be approved. The new fiscal year begins May 1. St. Charles is the lead agency, handling the finances and contracting for paramedic and billing services.

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The members had to come up with a way to make up for the loss of $262,000 from the Fox River and Countryside district (formerly the St. Charles and Countryside Fire Protection District), which in the past hired Tri-City Ambulance and St. Charles Fire Department to serve its residents. But May 1, that fire district will take on those responsibilities itself, using private firefighters and paramedics.

The budget assumes $4.19 million in expenditures and $2.849 million in revenue from ambulance fees. The agency will use $115,000 of its reserves toward the difference. The rest -- $1.226 million -- will be split between the members. Each will pay about 33 percent more than this year. St. Charles' increase is the highest, at $128,126; the city of Batavia's is $85,154, Geneva's is $84,330, the Batavia and Countryside Fire Protection District's is $7,564 and Geneva Township's is $2.601.

The proportion is determined, as it has been since 1982, by comparing each members' equalized assessed valuation to the total of all their EAVS. St. Charles, then, will pay 41 percent of the bill, Batavia and Geneva will pay slightly more than 27 percent apiece, the Batavia FPD will pay about 2 percent, and Geneva Township will pay almost 1 percent.

The fact that St. Charles' portion is the largest rankled a couple of aldermen on the committee. "Has this gotten any better with what St. Charles pays and what everybody else pays and St. Charles having a greater burden?" asked Alderman Betsy Penny.

"Let's reassess the city; this seems ridiculous," Alderman Jo Krieger said.

St. Charles has the most ambulance calls, followed by Batavia, then Geneva. St. Charles is the largest city of the three. It stations two ambulances apiece in St. Charles and Batavia, and one in Geneva.

Ambulance fees will remain the same for the next year: $600 a run for basic life support, $700 for advanced life support 1 with administration of medications, and $800 for advanced life support 2, typically heart attacks. Nonresidents pay $100 extra.

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