Chapter 15.02
EMERGENCY MEDICAL AND AMBULANCE SERVICE PUBLIC UTILITY

Sections:

15.02.000    Utility created.

15.02.010    Definitions.

15.02.020    Purpose.

15.02.030    Utility operation.

15.02.040    Service fee.

15.02.050    Regulations.

15.02.060    Civil enforcement.

15.02.000 Utility created.

Pursuant to the authority of RCW 35.21.766 and 35.27.370(15), as now existing or hereafter amended, and the police power of the city of Mercer Island to protect and preserve the public health, safety and welfare, there is created and established for the city a system of emergency medical and ambulance service to be operated as a public utility of the city. (Ord. 04-11 § 1; Ord. 495 § 1, 1980. Formerly 4.06.010).

15.02.010 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

A. “Ambulance services” means the provision, maintenance and operation of any emergency medical services delivered in responding to a 911 or aid call for service within the city, including basic life support and transport services.

B. “Basic life support services” means services provided by emergency medical technicians or firefighters.

C. “Adult care services” means adult daycares, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement homes as those terms are further defined in Chapter 19.16 MICC.

D. “Service fee” means the monthly fee levied by the utility upon persons, businesses and/or properties within the boundaries of the utility as authorized by MICC 15.02.040.

E. “System” means the entire system of ambulance services provided by the utility or over which the utility has regulatory control by virtue of contract, franchise, or other service agreement or arrangement legally recognized by the city.

F. “Utility” means the city of Mercer Island, Washington, emergency medical and ambulance service utility, including without limitation all equipment, employees, agents, supplies, overhead and other associated costs incurred to deliver all ambulance services. (Ord. 04-11 § 1).

15.02.020 Purpose.

The purpose of the utility is to regulate users and providers of all ambulance services; to generate revenue to pay for the regulatory scheme authorized by this chapter; and to pay for the particular benefits conferred upon businesses, residents and other occupants within the city, and/or to mitigate the burdens presented to the system by the different users of the system. (Ord. 04-11 § 1).

15.02.030 Utility operation.

The utility shall be operated out of the fire department for emergency calls. The utility shall have the authority, by and through the city manager or his/her designee, to collect and spend fee revenue described in MICC 15.02.040. All such fee revenue shall be used only for the operation, maintenance and capital improvement of the utility. (Ord. 06C-06 § 2; Ord. 04-11 § 1; Ord. 495 § 1, 1980. Formerly 4.06.020).

15.02.040 Service fee.

A. Fee Formula. A monthly service fee for the operation of the utility shall be established from time to time by resolution of the city council. The amount of the fee shall be based upon the total costs associated with the availability of the utility and the total costs associated with the demand placed on the utility as required by RCW 35.21.766, as now existing or hereafter amended. Fees will not exceed the revenue requirements to cover the costs of the utility, as authorized by the city council by adoption of a biennial budget and subsequent amendments. Copies of said resolution shall be on file in the office of the city clerk.

B. Exemptions from Service Fee. The following special categories of entities, properties, persons, and/or businesses are exempt from paying the service fee:

1. All vacant or undeveloped property, parcels officially dedicated as open space, parcels not used for any commercial, business, residential or adult care service purpose, parcels not used for parking, so long as such parcels are not expected to generate pedestrian or vehicular trips.

2. Persons who are Medicaid eligible and who reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility, retirement home or adult family home.

3. Any change in use of a parcel that eliminates application of an exemption from the service fee shall immediately make the affected property subject to applicable service fees. The service fee shall become due and payable as of the date of the change in use and shall continue until the parcel again meets exemption requirements.

4. Customers will be charged a full month’s charge for any portion of a month a property is subject to the service fee.

5. Any customer seeking an exemption from payment of the service fee and/or conversion from covered to exempt status must file a written petition with the finance director seeking a determination as to whether a specific parcel satisfies the exemption requirements set forth in this section.

6. Determinations as to the application of the exemption established in this subsection shall be made by the finance director; provided, such determinations shall be considered an administrative decision subject to appeal to the hearing examiner as provided in Chapter 19.15 MICC.

C. Periodic Service Fee Review. The city manager or his/her designee will periodically perform finanacial review and analysis of the utility’s revenues, expenses, indebtedness, fees and accounting, and recommend budgets, fee adjustments and financial policy for adoption by the city council.

D. Billing and Collection. The utility shall develop and implement procedures and systems pertaining to the billing and collection of service fees in accordance with state law and shall provide an appeal process for the review of utility bills. (Ord. 06C-02 § 1; Ord. 04-11 § 1; Ord. A-9 § 1, 1981; Ord. 495 § 1, 1980. Formerly 4.06.030).

15.02.050 Regulations.

The city manager or his/her designee is hereby authorized to promulgate any and all regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter including that all public and private ambulance providers retain highly trained, qualified and experienced personnel; maintain appropriate certifications and qualifications, ensure appropriate fleet management and equipment maintenance; satisfy minimum emergency vehicle specifications; ensure response times that protect the public health, welfare and benefit of all Mercer Island residents, businesses and other ambulance customers; deliver a level of care service consistent with or exceeding industry standards; comply with transport protocols; provide procedures for customer inquiries and complaints and ensure coordination with Mercer Island dispatch and other public safety communications. (Ord. 04-11 § 1).

15.02.060 Civil enforcement.

A. Violation. It is a violation for any person to violate any provision of this chapter.

B. Civil Penalty. A penalty equal to $100 or three times the value of any unpaid service fee(s), whichever is greater, may be imposed for violating this chapter; provided, however, that no penalty shall be assessed for an unpaid service fee until the city has provided 30 days’ notice to the occupant of such outstanding obligation and the occupant fails to cure such unpaid service fee(s) within the 30-day period. (Ord. 04-11 § 1; Ord. 495 § 1, 1980. Formerly 4.06.050).