When the city of Streator launches its emergency ambulance service 8 a.m. Saturday morning, City Manager David Plyman anticipates the Reading Fire Protection District will be part of its response area.
The two sides have reached a tentative agreement.
Plyman said details still were being finalized and both sides’ attorneys were reviewing the agreement, before the city or fire protection district make it official.
Just last week, Reading Fire Protection District had said it couldn’t afford the deal on the table. That intergovernmental agreement proposed Reading pay $485 per call for Streator’s newly-launched ambulance service, including possible add-on fees for if the Streator Fire Department’s assistance is needed.
In 2021, Advanced Medical Transport, the current emergency ambulance provider, responded to 368 Reading calls, meaning if the district’s calls stayed on average, it could expect a bill somewhere in the ballpark of $178,480. The Reading Fire Protection District received $76,000 total from taxes levied, meaning it would need to more than double its tax revenue to make a payment to Streator. The district is unable to do so without a referendum and the soonest it can put a referendum on the ballot is April.
Reading’s fire protection trustees still intend to ask for more tax revenue in a referendum to pay for an emergency ambulance service, but Streator has tentatively agreed to offer more affordable payments in the interim, until a referendum can pass.
Plyman said Streator is ready to provide its own 911 ambulance service beginning Saturday.
The city purchased three refurbished ambulances, and it has one of them ready to go. This is the ambulance Streator bought from the city of Ottawa initially to serve as a back-up at a price of $50,000. Plyman said he expects the second retooled ambulance to be delivered next week, and a third after that. In the interim, Streator will borrow one of Pontiac’s ambulances to use as a second ambulance until its second ambulance is delivered and ready to go.
“We will have two ambulances in operation,” Plyman said.
Streator reached an agreement with American Medical Response Solutions in June to provide personnel for the ambulance service at a cost of $3,399,534 for a three-year contract. The City Council finalized ambulance billing last week. An advanced life support call will be $1,500 and a basic life support call $1,200, with supplemental charges added based on market prices a few times per year.