Mission’s city council has renewed the contract with the company that provides its 911 call service and ambulance dispatch. At the same time the city has taken measures to more closely regulate the more than two-dozen ambulance companies licensed to operate in the city.
The council has also given the go ahead for the city’s manager to enter into negotiations to purchase a vacant lot to increase public parking in the area along Conway Avenue in downtown.
On Monday the city unanimously approved renewing the city’s contract with Medcare Emergency Medical Services, Inc. of McAllen. The city’s current contract was for two years with three one-year renewal options. James Cardoza, the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator, told the council this would be the first one-year option on the contract that was originally signed July 1, 2015. Cardoza said the city doesn’t pay Medcare for its services because the company makes its money billing customers’ insurance companies for ambulance service the company provides. In a packet provided to city council members Cardoza included a memo from Mission
Police Chief Robert Dominguez in which the chief stated his communications supervisor and patrol lieutenant reported they had no problems with the company.
Under terms of the contract MedCare operates the city’s 911 communications center with company ambulances providing around the clock ambulance service from Central Fire Station number 1, and Fire Stations 3 and 4.
Also Monday the council voted to approve the licensing of 12 different ambulance companies to operate in the city. They join a dozen more also operating in the city but whose contracts are staggered to expire on different years, Cardoza said. The council also voted to limit to two the number of ambulances a company can park in residential areas. However the council decided to delay a request from Cardoza to extend that limit to commercial parking lots. Cardoza said the city has received complaints about the numbers of ambulances parking in shopping center and commercial plaza parking lots. At least three councilmember’s said they were concerned that limiting the number of ambulances that can be parked in plaza lots was a landlord tenant issue and not a zoning issue. However the council did not vote against the ordinance but decided to delay a vote on the measure until the issue could be further studied.
Among other agenda items the council voted to authorize City Manager Martin Garza to negotiate the purchase of a 50-foot by 150-foot vacant lot located on the northwest corner of Conway Avenue and Sixth Street. Garza said the lot would be a continuation of the avenue’s beautification project started two years ago and would be used as additional public parking for downtown shoppers.
The council also approved the renewal of a memorandum of understanding with the Region One Education Service Center, which provides free education services to adults. Speer Memorial Library Director Mayra Rocha said under the agreement the library will continue to provide computers and facilities for students and the Region One Education Service Center will provide instructors and materials.