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Council OKs EMS fee increases
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 In other business Monday night, the Great Bend City Council:
• Approved an ordinance implementing the renewal of the city’s half-cent sales tax as of April 1, 2015. It will sunset on April 1, 2025. The renewal of the tax, which goes to property tax relief, economic development and street repairs, was approved by Great Bend voters in the April 1 election.
• Learned that Seaport Aviation will likely start 12 flights to Wichita and six to Kansas City each week some time in June. However, Great Bend Municipal Airport Manager Martin Miller said no specific date has been set.
• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. She covered the Great Bend High School Community Service Day Wednesday, the  Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball/softball conference tournament that starts next Wednesday, June Jaunt which runs June 5-8 and the Party in the Park which is set for Aug. 16.
As for the tournament, Hayes said the KCAC has designated next Wednesday, April 30, as Great Bend residents get in free night. One must have a ticket, but they are free for the one game that night and are available at the city office, 1209 Williams, or the Recreation Center, 1214 Stone.
• Authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign an amendment to the airport consultant agreement with Kansas City, Mo.-based Burns and McDonnell and a replacement contract with the firm. Since the city’s selection of Burns and McDonnell for Great Bend Municipal Airport projects in 2011, four new federal regulations now require amendments to Federal Aviation Administration projects, airport Manager Martin Miller said.
This is necessary to receive FAA grant funds for the current rewiring and lighting  replacement project on Runway 11-29. This is a $450,000 undertaking and the FAA will cover 90 percent of it, but only if the amended agreement was signed.
• Approved allowing Lockhart Geophysical Company of Denver, Colo., permission to conduct a seismic survey on city-owned property south of the Arkansas River and east of US Highway 281. The company has contracted with Darrah Oil Company of Wichita to do the 3-D survey, which would involve the temporary placement of geophones and seismic cables across the southern levee of the river.
The tract is 46.5 acres and Lockhart will pay $10 per acre for the work. The city would receive $465.
The work should take about a week.
Permission is also being sought for access to privately-held land in the area.
• Approved abatement requests for: 305 Locust, owned by Gamalie Martinez-Rodriguez, for accumulation of refuse; 210 Fruit, owned by Debra Potter and James Crawford, for accumulation of refuse; 221 (219) Frey, owned by Evrey Olivas Terrazas, for motor vehicle nuisance; 406 Dogwood,  owned by Margarito Rivera, for motor vehicle nuisance; 811 Pine, owned by Village Park Inc., for motor vehicle nuisance; and 408 Almond, owned by Doug Demitt, for accumulation of refuse and motor vehicle nuisance.
• Heard a departmental update from City Administrator Howard Partington.

The last time ambulance fees for Great Bend Emergency Medical Services were adjusted was in 2009. Much has happened since then and Fire Chief Mike Napolitano told the City Council Monday night a change was in order.
The Council agreed, approving increases across the board for EMS ambulance charges. The new rates are based on current reimbursements allowed by Medicare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield, as well as fees from area EMS departments.
“We were behind quite a ways,” Napolitano said. The changes bring the city in line with standard rates.
Here is a run-down the new fees:
• Basic life support (this is emergency medical care treatment, or basic first aid), non-emergency – up from $225 to $375.
• Basic life support, emergency – up from $350 to $450
• Advance life support (this is paramedic-level care), non-emergency – up from $250 to $425
• Advance life support, emergency – up from $400 to $475
• Advance life support II (a higher level of care) – up from $575 to $700
Mileage charges will increase from $10.75 per mile to $13.50.
There is also a $100 fee charged for each ambulance run either inside or outside the city limits where treatment or medication is given, but the patient refuses transport. This cost will remain the same.
 In addition, there is a $50 fee charged for each ambulance run either inside or outside the city limits where the patient only needs some physical assistance (such as after having fallen down), but refuses transport. This will also remain unchanged.
A patient will be allowed three such visits per year before being assessed the $50 fee.
Great Bend EMS will work with patients in setting up payment arrangements if necessary.
Napolitano said Great Bend isn’t alone in adjusting its rates. Other EMS providers in the county have already made the change.
Great Bend EMS gets about 80 percent of its funding from service fees. The rest comes through taxes.