City Government

Town Hall Meeting Video On Line

The unedited video of the GUARDIAN’S Monday Town Hall Meeting to discuss the ambulance issue is available on the ADA COUNTY website. Click on the notice appropriate listing. It is about an hour and a half with a 10 minute intro by the fat bald GUARDIAN editor.

No allegations of bias please, we would gladly post it on the City of Boise site as well. Based on our previous posts, it appears to be a dead issue, but we promised to make it available.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. BG, I promise you its far from dead…..its just better hidden while certain parties try to work out a new stratagy.

    Several previous posts on the other threads by the Pro-Fire movement even said so.

  2. Guaranteed it will be back. There are jobs at the BFD that depend on it. Just ask their EMS Chief what he’ll be doing if they dont get an ambulance on the street.

  3. The Boise Picayune
    Aug 28, 2009, 9:40 am

    Personally, I don’t care if Tony Soprano is running the show, so long as they are provideding timely and superlative care.

    Boise Fire? Ada County? I like ’em both. But the bottom line is that the bottom line is the bottom line.

    And the bottom line is life saving!

  4. I think it is laughable that Ada County Paramedics loves calling the kettle black!

    Just call Ada-Boi and NPA and ask how many jobs they have lost from a PUBLICALLY FUNDED agency putting their medics out of work! A whole bunch more than ONE Boise Fire ambulance would do to Ada County. Oh, dare I say that Ada County Paramedics is actually doing what they so quick to accuse Boise Fire Department of doing? Ada County Paramedics are subsidized with tax money from an ambulance taxing district, they are also the sole provider for 911 calls (so they can charge whatever they feel like!), and yet they are out there underbidding private industry medics (yes, putting them out of work), and doing it for what? the good nature of the citizens of Ada County? not on your life, they are doing it to BOOST REVENUE!!!! Yet, they are the ones that accuse the City of underhanded buisness practices and then trying to keep it quiet. Maybe thier motivation for fighting the Boise Fire ambulance less about a “fragmented system,” and more about solidifying their place as the only provider of anything EMS in Ada County. Maybe they just don’t like the idea of COMPETITION.

    EDITOR NOTE–That is one of the reasons the GUARDIAN opposed the ordinance that would have allowed the county monopoly. We just don’t want to duplicate service in the city or jeopardize the county system when it comes to the PUBLIC sector.

  5. Short version is cities can operate independent of the county and transport city people for less money overall. No argument about it.

    It is a COUNTY PARAMEDIC SYSTEM and should the system fragment it will cost county people a whole lot more due to the economies of scale.

    This whole thing smells of the 1960’s and 1970’s when the fire guys wanted nothing to do with transporting people to the ER. Private ambulance services went bankrupt and the County EMS program got voted and approved by everyone.

    This can quickly deteriorate to a very self serving deal if voters let this get out of hand. The system works.. leave it alone.

  6. I watched the meeting video, and have one question for Sharon Ullman: Why were you against the ACP Ord. limiting the cities ablities in running transport when you weren’t a commish, but did a 180 degree turn now that you are a commish. You stated it like a point of pride during the meeting

  7. I forgot to add one more thing:

    The bid is determined by the cost to provide the service. Say it it cost us $X.00 to provide a stand by or a transport, what ever that service will be.

    That is figured by the X dollars for pay, wear and tear on ambulance, etc.

    SO our bid MUST exceed X amount. It MUST. If it drops below X amount then what that means is the taxpayer is eating that loss. ACP doesn’t have that option. don’t let that happen. That is why we are seldom cheaper.

    Another service can afford to operate a call or a standby here or there at a loss because the overall VOLUME of CALLS make up for it, or other factors in terms of other business they make…..

    So again, ACP seldom is able to underbid a contract. We win bids (and we lose a lot) based on reliability and profesionalsim.

    If the privates improved their reliability, customer service, and professionalism… we wouldn’t ever get the bid.

  8. Observer,
    If we were to follow your line of thinking, would we have NPA and Ada Boi in the 911 business? Guess what, there’s no money to be made running a 911 agency. They don’t want anything to do with it. NPA lost their shirt trying to run the 911 response gig in Mountain Home. Ada Boi has always passed on getting into the 911 gig because they know there’s no cash in it.

    To take your thinking one step further, when you take the 911 service out of the interfacility transfer business(the guaranteed paycheck), your taxpayers end up having to pay more to fund the 911 money loser. The only way that an EMS agency is cheap and effective is typically if they have the market cornered (both 911, interfacility, CCT, standbys, the works). Should the service be run by the government? That is where the logic breaks down. If you put a private in the driver’s seat and make them swim, they will find efficiencies that a government run service typically will not.

    The answer then is to either make ACEMS a private service contracted by the Ambulance District and let them compete for the contract with AMR, Rural Metro, Ada Boi, NPA, etc… (not that the market’s big enough here for AMR or RM to even show interest)

  9. Tired of FD Politics
    Aug 29, 2009, 12:23 am


    There is an argument about it. Ada County budget only operates on a small tax subsidy. Only 30% from the budget is tax money. The remainder of the budget is fee for service. Ada County’s budget is less than 13 million dollars for the entire county. Boise City Fire’s is 30 million and they run 15k less calls a year. Let’s not mention that BFD already admitted that they also want to charge for transport. So please explain to me how it is cheaper? Yeah that’s what I thought. You can’t.

    As for observer…let’s be honest. You honestly think BFD doesn’t want to boost revenue? You don’t think that is their plan? Why do you think they are taking over NACFR? Whitney? They want all the tax money with no added benefits to tax payers of those fire districts. I pay 200 dollars a year for Whitney fire protection yet the closest fire engine is 7 minutes away. Yay for me. Thanks Boise! I pay 10 dollars a year for Ada County Paramedics. So your argument is flawed as well.

    They [ACP] didn’t run AdaBoi and NPA out of business. NPA has had numerous problems that started in Elmore County, or would you like to blame Ada County for that as well? If Ada County was 100% taxed based then you are right, they shouldn’t compete with the private sector. Ada County could grow if there were 100 ambulance companies out there. But Ada County is 70% FEE FOR SERVICE. So that means that people that use the service should be responsible to pay for the service. That is why the tax rate is so low. It’s common sense really.

  10. watching too
    Aug 29, 2009, 12:32 am

    Nemo,contracts are there for a reason. You can demand performance. If we, the taxpaying citizens of ada county demanded a private service to provide the reliability and professionalism of the current EMS program, we could mandate that in a performance based contract. And I am willing to bet that the private service would bite off on the demands and still be able to provide the service at a lower cost. Why does the government have to be involved? Are you saying that Ada County government has a monopoly on reliability and professionalism? That is laughable. Whatever the value you add, the private industry can deliver the same product cheaper.

    Fed Up,
    I have talked to friends in cities which have privates, and they operate without a tax subisdy. I admit that a town like Mountain Home is not attractive to private industry, so the taxpayer must decide their level of service, but Boise is biggest enough that I believe privates will be chomping at the bit to come in here.

  11. Watching,
    The City of Boise already explored contracting with a private. None of the big boys would bite. Market’s too small. If a private could capture the whole market in the valley (from Lucky Peak to the Oregon border)… then you’d have something to fight over.

  12. Watching too,

    First of all, I think I should make myself clear. I didnt say that Ada County had a monopoly on on professionalism and reliability. I did say however that they other guys could , but dont. Yes they are cheaper..but perhaps you get what you pay for. You pay McDonnalds prices, you get McDonnalds EMS. Thats capitalism too.

    Now I had a whole page written out on plusses and minuses of performance contracts, and the private vs. PUM (Public Utility Model) vs. 3rd service/tax base funded….but it seems that you and I are the only ones interested in that detailed of a conversation. If you would like to carry it on on the side, post an email and we can carry it on.

    Now as for your friends in other cities, if ALL your looking at is taxpayer subsidy (cost) , I suggest you look at more. Just as when you buy a car, cost is only one issue. And there is more to cost than just the money you spend initially….

    Again we get back to the three sided coin..Cheaper (all costs- Charges, Taxes, subsidys) Faster , and better….

    Which is what this discussion is about…..

    Again, something the BFD seems not to want to discuss.

    EDITOR NOTE–Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has sent a letter to the Ada Commishes asking to discuss specific areas of emergency service. In the same letter he said plans for an ambulance are currently on “hold.”

  13. Proud Idahoan
    Aug 29, 2009, 1:25 pm

    I have no doubt if BFD presented a bid to cover Boise that could provide service cheaper. However that would kill ACP bottom line. Could ACP still afford to cover Meridian, Eagle, Star, and all the areas not within city limits. Thats a lot of people BFD would be harming rather then helping.

    How come Fire Departments that regularly fight fires like Caldwell and Middleton have no interest in becoming an ALS service.

  14. Last I checked, ACEMS represents about 30% of the EMS system in Ada County–yet collects 100% of the taxes.

    ACEMS would never be able to make it without the services provided by the Meridian, Boise and Eagle fire departments.

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