Frustrated with untruthful statements

Dear Gary,

I continue to find it totally frustrating that there are people that continue to give inaccurate, untruthful and/or “hearsay” statements about the City of Oroville Ambulance service and feel it necessary to try to clarify a few things.

Mr. Allen, you are implying to the community that the volunteers only get $10 per on call shift, and that there is no other pay! That’s the same figure that you use when you try to compare LifeLine’s cost to the Ambulance Department cost. And where did you get that tax revenue figure? The budget amount for 2015 Special EMS levy tax for Oroville $26,899.

I think our citizens deserve the truth! So, here are a few facts: In 2013, total actual wages and benefits paid to Ambulance Dept. personnel was $78,846 and there were 311 calls. 2014 figures were $76,726 for 313 calls.

The city’s Ambulance Dept. members are paid $9 per meeting/drill; EMS members receive $14 per hour per call and AEM Tech’s receive $19 per hour per call. They are compensated $10 per on call shift (which means they have signed up to be available to take calls for particular period). Yes, they have made the commitment to be available should there be an ambulance call, but they can certainly take showers (referencing a statement made on the Oroville Friends Group Facebook page) and go about their daily routine until if/when there is the need for them to actually respond. When they do respond, then they also get paid wages as listed above. They even get $7.00 per hour when they stand-by for special events. In essence, they are always paid for their time, understanding that the pay may not be equivalent to a full-time position. You also need to keep in mind that there is a fine line in what the Fed’s consider to be a “volunteer” stipend and &ldqu o;paid” employee.

The “North Star” group requested (after the 2015 Budget had already been adopted) an increase from the $10 on call pay to $36. By my calculations, that would mean an increase of roughly $57,000 to the 2015 Budget…. Where would those dollars come from? So now we’re talking about a wage and benefits package of possibly $136,000… add to that all the operating expenditures, such as fuel, tires, operating and medical supplies and equipment for the ambulance; liability, facility and vehicle insurance, dispatching fees, etc. Approving their request would have made the 2015 Budget around $235,000.

And for all of you that believe our citizens will be paying TWICE by entering into an agreement with LifeLine, well, guess what – Oroville bills too! Always has, because the city’s special EMS levy is roughly only $27,000 and the EMS District’s levy is $139,500……. Together, the levy monies collected do not cover all expenses, let alone providing the necessary dollars to save up for the next new ambulance or large equipment purchase. The city bills your insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, whatever. In most cases, they have to write off what isn’t covered, but people do get bills! So, what could possibly be more “non-profit” than our local government agency?

It is terribly sad that a department that was established by the city in 1982 has now been totally destroyed by a few people… not everyone in the department resigned but enough did that the City had to take actions necessary to keep ambulance service available. And, how can anyone say that those that submitted their resignations were fired????

Instead of taking a bit more time to work out an equitable resolution, the City was given an ultimatum, backed into a corner, whatever you want to call it. Because Council has had to deal with so many personnel issues in that department throughout the years, I understand and totally support the City Council in their decision. And remember, when you are pointing arrows at the Mayor, you are pointing the wrong way…. City Council makes these decisions. Chuck is just the messenger.

Thank you for reading!

Kathy M. Jones