The City of Bishop and Symons Ambulance have reached a provisional agreement regarding dispatch service, according to a City press release prior to the holidays. The press release states that the terms of the agreement between the City and Symons “include the City continuing to provide Dispatch Service at a reduced amount and Symons agreeing to pay any amount currently owed to the City through the end of 2013.”
Neither City Administrator Keith Caldwell nor Bishop Police Department (BPD) Chief Chris Carter could be reached for further comment on the details of the agreement.
The City had been struggling for months to determine whether or not to terminate dispatch service, which the BPD provided to Symons for $20 per call. Symons’ had accrued as outstanding debt of about $13,000 for dispatch services provided since February of 2013.
The dispatch service contract between the City and Symons expired in July, 2013. Since then, BPD continued to provide dispatch service while Chief Carter attempted contract negotiations with Symons.
TCity Administrator Caldwell characterized both Symons founder Judd Symons, and President and CEO Jeff Grange, as “unresponsive.”
However, when the City finally met with Symons to discuss an agreement in mid December, a city press release gushed, “Symons was open, honest, and forthright about the issues that Symons has had to deal with in recent months … In addition, he offered his sincere apologies to the City that this contract issue had not been properly addressed earlier.”
Symons had requested a reduction to dispatch service rates because of alleged financial difficulties stemming from a decrease in Medi-Care/Med-Cal reimbursement rates, changes to private insurance, and the state of the overall economy.
Yet in a 2012 Inc.com profile, Symons Ambulance ranked #833 among the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the nation. The site listed Symons’ revenue in 2009 at $605,256, and $3.9 million in 2012, a 538% growth.
Given this discrepancy, Chief Carter had requested that the larger Symons Ambulance, not just the Bishop operation, provide Profit and Loss Statements to prove its financial difficulties. Symons Ambulance failed to respond to the request.
The City aims to have an agreement to present to the Bishop City Council at its next meeting on Jan. 13.