Live in WPB—Stay Healthy—Or Pay Up

I am going to bring to your attention dates by underlining them, please pay attention to the year.

Item #11 on the Agenda for the  WPB City Commission Meeting  held on  July. 8, 2011.

The city passed Resolution No. 190-11 establishing fees to be charged for the emergency medical transportation services provided by the West Palm Beach Fire Rescue Department. Below are the fees the city charges.

West Palm Beach effective October 1, 2011 Rates

ALS1   (Advanced Life Support 1)   $700.00
ALS2  (Advanced Life Support 2)   $750.00
(Specialty Care Transport)   $850.00
Mileage Fee $12.00 /mile  (If you live 1.1 mile from hospital you will be charged $24.00)
Waiting Fee $35.00   1/2 hour
Response to DOA   (Dead on Arrival)    $350.00.
Late Fee $3.00 / Month.

WPB City Minutes on item # 11
Commissioner Robinson asked questions regarding the fees and collection rates; Mayor Muoio noted that they did not have the rates before today, did not want to be the highest in the County; suggested matching Ft. Lauderdale rates; Commissioner James commented on collection rates for PBC and they were higher. Commissioner Moss asked if the level of service would remain the same. After discussion, it was decided that the City wanted to match the rates of Fort Lauderdale, and not be the highest in the County. Motion was made by Commissioner Moss, seconded by Commissioner James, to approve Resolution No. 190-11 as amended, and thereafter it was voted as follows: Ayes: Commissioners Moss, Moffett, James and Robinson. Commissioner Mitchell was absent. Motion therefore carried unanimously.

See how easy it is for City Government to pick your pockets.
Item # 13 on WPB City Agenda for May 27,2014

The city passed Resolution #133-14 which in part reads:

“Appropriating additional funds from the line of credit with JP Morgan to the construction budget for 3 fire station’s mentioned below.

#5 for change orders in the amount of $650,000.00.

#4 for change orders amounting to $2,360,000.00.

#8 for change orders amounting to $2,250,000.00.

The original project budget for #8 was $2,750,000.00, which included the shell construction, and did not take into account FF & E (Fire Fighters & Equipment) Shell construction means $2,750,000.00 was spent for a slab, roof, and 4 walls. Good deal for the contractor & not the taxpayer. The additional $2.2 million will be needed for dorms, restrooms, redesign 2nd. floor bunk rooms, computers, telephones, and contingency.

The mayor’s “staff” recommended the above be approved and City Commissioners did just that.
In my opinion the Commissioners should approve no project until they have the total cost of the project, meaning the cost of buying and clearing the land, pouring the slab, building the 4 walls, placing and covering the roof. Now let’s move inside. Framing the rooms, adding the electricity, water, cable and phone lines, adding sheet rock then painting inside and out. They should know the total cost of purchasing everything needed to insure the fire department has all equipment needed to run efficiently. Equipment needed would be Fire Engines, trucks, cars, personnel salary, benefits & uniforms, telephones, computers, beds, bed linen, furniture, refrigerators, stove, microwave oven, coffee maker, dishes, glasses, silverware, pots & pans, sinks, toilets, floor covering, landscaping. The items above and more go into building and furnishing a new fire dept. The city should receive a minimum of 3 bids, with a penalty clause for not completing the job on time.

A resident and senior citizen complained about the $700.00 transport charge at a City Commission meeting held 7/5/16 after he became ill and was transported to a local hospital. The resident mentioned the city collected approximately  3 million dollars in both 2014 & 2015.

I placed a PRR (Public Records Request) for the dollar amount the city received from 2011 through 2015. Below are the figures the city supplied

Figures City sent me

FY 10/11 2,034,461.86
FY 11/12 1,956,560.31
FY 12/13 1,911,861.02
FY 13/14 1,886,757.58
FY 14/15 1,873,849.88

Total $9,663,490.65

I questioned the figures, recalling the resident stating 3 million received the previous 2 years. I sent another e-mail asking how they arrived at those figures. Response below.

“In response to your request for additional information on the fire fees, attached is the document sent to me from Finance.”
I received the same figure amount as reported above in a different format.

Below are the figures supplied by a city employee who asked to remain anonymous.

FY 2012 2,723,993.00
FY 2013 2,357,994.00
FY 2014 3,144,304.00
FY 2015 4,034,342.00
FY 2016 3,365,000.00
$15,625,633.00        Difference $5,962,143.00

Why is the Finance Dept. not reporting the true numbers? This is a windfall for the city and it targets the elderly, the residents most likely in need of an ambulance.
Obama Care has people on Medicare paying more out of pocket for health care which include higher deductibles for hospital stays, test, specialists and prescription medications. What Obama Care doesn’t take, the city of West Palm Beach found a way.

Your tax bill is due and please note you will pay an additional $25.00 for WPB Fire Service. How many more millions has this brought the city?