Excerpts from the NewsGazette.com:

The Urbana city council signaled support for a five-figure increase in the ambulance-licensing fee on Monday night.

Fire Chief Brian Nightlinger proposed that the fee for ambulance services to become licensed in Urbana be increased from $500 to $12,000, per company. He said the increase would be to recoup the staff time spent on ambulance services, higher METCAD dispatching fees and the wear-and-tear on facilities to house the ambulances.

At the meeting, the council also passed an ordinance approving changes to ambulance requirements in Urbana to make them more consistent with fire requirements.

Finance Director Elizabeth Hannan said she thinks the city could have a much higher fee than $12,000 based on the ambulance companies’ share of city expenses, but Nightlinger presented a smaller increase.

The only ambulance services licensed in Urbana are the Carle- and Presence-based ambulance services.

“This helps to relay the higher costs (to them),” councilman Charlie Smyth said. The fee would increase from $0.28 per call to a little more than $6 per call, he said.

Councilman Eric Jakobsson pointed out that it’s a relatively small increase in the terms of the number of calls the ambulance companies go on.

“The city has been subsidizing this for years,” Jakobsson said. “Now we’re looking to recapture not all but some of the costs.”

Neither Carle nor Presence spoke at the meeting.