Houston City Council today voted to impose a $13 per mile fee on ambulance rides in Houston, in addition to the $1,000 per ride base price; however Helena Brown, C.O. Bradford, Andrew Burks and Jerry Davis were opposed to the motion.
“This is an item that we are having to go back and tweak,” said Council Member Melissa Noriega who recalled that the city dropped a previous mileage fee in 2010 when the base price was raised from $415 to $1,000. Listen
Noriega explained that she recently learned that dropping the mileage fee disqualified the city from claiming about $2.7 million a year in Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance reimbursement that it cannot claim through its base charge.
Council Member Helena Brown suggested that the city council impose a fee of just one penny per mile to qualify for Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance reimbursement, and made a motion to that effect. Listen
However, Brown’s motion died for lack of a second and the city council voted to approve the $13 per mile fee.
The city council voted to authorize an amendment to the city's strategic partnership agreement with Fort Bend Municipal Utility District No. 146 and an ordinance annexing an area within the district into the City of Houston. Council Member Stephen Costello stepped out of the room for the votes, but the items were otherwise approved unanimously by the city council.
All other agenda items were approved; however there were some negative votes.
Bradford voted against a supplemental allocation of $200,000 for payment of tme and material costs to continue receiving support for the Integrated Case Management System under a contract with CourtView Justice Solutions for the Municipal Courts Department Technology Fee Fund.
Michael Sullivan voted against an $87,500 contract with SAIC Energy, Environment & Infrastructure, LLC for professional services to determine the viability and fiscal incentives of establishing an enperprise fund for “certain solid waste operations and serv ices” through the interlocal agreement with the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
Sullivan voted against a motion to designate the Klunkert Farmhouse at 2911 Julian Street as a landmark and protected landmark.
Brown voted against five items:
- A motion to authorize the defeasance and redemption of Airport System Subordinate Lien Revenue Bonds, and the appropriation of an amount not to exceed $8,710,000;
- An increase to the maximum amount in a contract with the Harris County Hospital District for routine HIV screening services;
- The appropriation of $346,298 for the renovation of the warehouse building at 3301 Commerce;
- An increase in the maximum amount of a contract with Recycle Rewards Inc. “for the continued implementation of an incentive program that rewards households participatging in the Automated Curbside Recycling Program; and
- Approval of a municipal setting designation ordinance which prohibits the use of designated groundwater beneath property at 8945 Manchester Street.
Only one item was delayed for one week by a member of the city council using the tag rule. Sullivan tagged an ordinance making a general appropriation of revenues in support of budgets for FY 2012.
Two items were pulled from the city council agenda and were not considered for action:
- A proposed ordinance appropriating $4,282,515 in conjunction with the Planned Sobering Center at 1811 Ruiz; and
- A proposed $99,500 amendment to a grant agreement with the Vietnamese Community of Houston & Vicinities, Inc. in conjunction with the renovation of a community center at 7100 Clairewood Drive.
All other agenda items were approved unanimously by the members present. Agenda
Council Member Burks arrived late and did not participate in all the votes and Wanda Adams was absent.
Members of the city council congratulated City Secretary Anna Russell, who is celebrating 60 years of service to the City of Houston.
City Controller Ronald Green and Finance Director Kelly Dowe reported to the city council on the current financial status of the city. Listen
At her news conference following the meeting, Mayor Annise Parker said the Offshore Technology Conference which is underway this week in Houston. Listen
"It is the biggest boost to our economy each year from any conference or convention," she said. "I understand that they may have exceeded 80,000 visitors, which is huge."
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