Fire Chief Nick Samac told city council last week, “We’ve had a fairly productive year.” He said morale is high, and his department has been in a positive budget situation all year.
One reason for the budget improvement has been the change in the companies for billing and collections. Samac acknowledged help from Sen. John Boozman for improving collections from Medicare for ambulance service.
Alderman David Mitchell told Samac the response time for collections still seemed to be too long, which reduces the possibility of collecting. Mayor Butch Berry responded the previous collection company would not even pursue accounts less than $1000, and Samac added the new company is going after whatever he asks for, even accounts two years old, and some are being taken to court.
In other news, Samac said that ESFD hosted an Emergency Medical Services conference earlier in the year, and he intends to host another one next spring. His crews engage in monthly fire training exercises, and he credited their training with being able to quickly knock down several significant fires during the year.
He said his crews responded to 1095 ambulance calls during 2016, and they have already responded to 1175 this year.