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By Anna Lothson
The bill for those needing an ambulance ride in Oak Park is set to rise by $100 soon.
To keep up with rising labor and vehicle maintenance costs, Oak Park Fire Chief Tom Ebsen told the village board at a recent meeting that a fee increase is needed. The board was expected to pass an ordinance Tuesday night affirming that suggestion, which is anticipated to bring in about $90,000 more annually to the village, based on current call volume.
Ebsen's report to the board outlined that the last fee structure was set in 2009, and those fees were based on 2005 labor costs due to a contract negotiation process that wasn't settled until the following year.
Currently, labor, fuel and maintenance costs are 20 percent higher than 2005 and, since 2010, new ambulances have stricter regulations for exhaust emission control systems.
The new fee structure was determined by using the Naperville 2010 ambulance fee survey that polled 128 Chicago metro municipalities about their ambulance fees. Oak Park's new fee will put it slightly above the average of nearby municipalities, the report stated.
The updated structure brings resident ambulance fees to $500 for residents for basic life-support transport, $800 for advanced life support. For non-residents, the fee is $700 for life support and $1,000 for advanced life support.