HIGHFILL -- The city council in Highfill, at its Nov. 8 meeting, approved entering into a four-year ambulance contract with Pafford Medical Services Inc., effective on Jan. 26, 2023.
The new contract will cost the city $76,792 per year, a significant increase over the cost to the city for Northwest's ambulance service. However, it was pointed out that Northwest opted out of its current contract because it was losing money. Northwest also submitted a new bid to provide services to western Benton County and municipalities there, but its bid was higher than Pafford's. Benton County will see the largest increase, with costs to the county going up to $980,000.
A plus for residents who need the service is that Pafford has agreed to write off the difference between the amount it bills for services and what a private resident's insurance will pay, meaning no out-of-pocket expenses for residents who have insurance covering emergency medical services.
Also passed by the council was an ordinance increasing the prices for meter setting to bring the city in line with actual costs to the city. According to Dustin Kahrl, the city's public works director, the increase brings the city in line with Centerton's charges for setting meters.
The council approved a lease agreement with U.S. Bank for a copier for the police station at a monthly cost of $119 plus overages (per copy charges of less than 1 cent for monochrome copies and 5 cents for color copies). The police department's old copier will be passed on to the fire department.
Mayor Rieff presented a proposed 2023 budget to the council with budget workshops planned to review it and make any necessary adjustments. She said the proposed budget includes funding for an additional staff person in city hall. She said the city currently has approximately $150,000 in outstanding water bills and does not have the staff members to pursue collection of those unpaid amounts.
She said the proposed budget also included some increases for the police department, as well as an increase to cover the cost of ambulance service in the city next year. Substantial increases were included to cover the cost of engineering services needed by the city for street repairs and for water and wastewater projects.
A resolution was approved transferring $2,648 from the city's Water Revenue Fund to the Fire Department Equipment Fund.
The council heard proposals from four internet technology companies -- Computer Hut, Stealth Security, Haven Management Services, and Critical Edge Technology -- offering cybersecurity and other services to the city to meet its technology needs and prevent data loss or breach. Initial price quotes ranged from $1,240 to $2,010 per month, based on the services offered. No decision was made at the council meeting.