Higher ambulance fees likely for Moline

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

It's the Tuesday afternoon card game at the Moline Township Activity Center. That's where the Moline ambulance service is quite a deal. They've used it a time or two.

"It was the blink of an eye, and they were here," recalled Worth Melton, Moline.

Now higher prices are in the cards. The proposed basic rate, which handles three-quarters of the calls, would jump $10 to $670. But advanced life support calls would climb an extra $160-290 to $820 to $1,060.

"I think it would be worth it to pay a little more and have it local," said Joyce Dickerson, Moline.

Moline wants to generate an extra $250,000 for the city's general fund. The city studied more than a dozen providers, factoring the cost of staffing, ambulances and equipment.

"The important thing here is to look at the cost of providing the service," said Moline Mayor Don Welvaert. "And try to recoup as much of that cost as we possibly can."

The rate hike proposal is coming up now because Moline is keeping its ambulance service. Like any city service, it comes at a cost.

Moline put off considering a fee hike last year while it studied privatizing its ambulance service. The decision to stay local came after long and heated negotiations with Moline's fire department.

"Fortunately, we were able to work with the fire department to come up with a win-win situation for the citizens of Moline and firefighters as well," Welvaert said.

If Moline aldermen unanimously support the proposal at Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting, it will come up for a vote next Tuesday. If there's opposition, it will become an agenda item next week.

Back at the card game, these seniors agree that paying a higher price is worth keeping the city service.

"If I need it bad enough, I don't mind it at all to keep it going," Melton said.

"I think it's very important that we keep it locally in the city and under the city than have it privatized by some company," Dickerson concluded.

At this game, it's a hand they can play for a win.