Company Tapped to Help Murrieta Collect Paramedic Fees

Third-party company, Fire Recovery, USA has been tapped for administering the EMS subscription program in Murrieta.

UPDATE 10:20 p.m. Nov. 20:

Murrieta City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to approve an agreement with Fire Recovery, USA to collect the new emergency medical services fee.

Councilman Randon Lane cast the only no vote.

There was no further discussion on the matter, and no members of the public came forward to speak.


An emergency medical response fee to be charged to residents and businesses of Murrieta may go into effect as soon as Jan. 1.

Murrieta city council is scheduled to vote Tuesday night whether to award a contract to Fire Recovery USA for administration and billing related to the Emergency Medical Services Subscription Program.

In July, city council voted to establish the voluntary program and related response fees. This was in order to recoup paramedic-related costs incurred by the Murrieta Fire Department, as the city's fire engines are typically dispatched alongside ambulance crews to medical emergencies.

The council vote was was 4-1, with Councilman Randon Lane dissenting. Lane called the fee a "tax" and said citizens should be given the opportunity to vote on it.

Tuesday's city council meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m. Nov. 20 at 1 Town Square.

To avoid paying a commensurate $350 fee each time Murrieta fire paramedics respond to their home, residents may choose to pay a $48 annual subscription fee—$24 biannually. All inhabitants and guests in the home would be covered under the subscription.

Businesses in Murrieta may subscribe based on their amount of employees. Those with 1 to 10 employees would be charged $75; businesses with 11 to 25 employees would be charged $125; those with 26 to 75 employees, $200; and those with 76 or more employees, $300.

The subscription fee for all outpatient medical care facilities was set at $300.

Low-income residents and those who receive government-subsidized health care benefits would be billed a discounted rate of $24 a year or $12 twice a year.

The subscription fee does not cover or pay for transportation in an ambulance or other care provided by an ambulance company, city of Murrieta Management Analyst Diana Monaco wrote, in the agenda report.

Monaco wrote that Fire Recovery, USA, on behalf of the Fire Department, would maintain an automated website through which the subscription fees can be paid. The fee can also be submitted by check.

The company was selected as the "most qualified" through a bid process, Monaco wrote.

"Fire Recovery is currently contracted to provide similar services to more than 60 California fire departments and municipalities along with providing cost recovery services in 33 states throughout the U.S., and has been progressively providing cost recovery services for (the) past seven years," Monaco wrote.

Pending council approval, Fire Recovery has agreed to handle all advertising of the program, data management of all emergency medical incidents, provide performance reports and produce ongoing resident and business program mailers, as well as manage subscriber account set-ups, invoicing, accounts receivable and delinquent account collections.

City staff, including Murrieta fire Chief Matt Shobert and City Manager Rick Dudley, are recommending approval of a one-year period contract with Fire Recovery, with four one-year extensions based on satisfactory performance.

The initial cost to implement the program was estimated at $48,491, according to the agenda report.

Projected annual revenues were estimated between $350,000 and $400,000, staff wrote.

Fire Recovery, USA would be paid 22 percent of month-end revenues, with the balance sent to the Murrieta Fire Department, according to the agenda report.

"Once the program revenues have stabilized during year two and three, the collection fee may decrease based on the success of the program," Monaco wrote.

Shobert said pending council approval, the goal is to implement the fee program by Jan. 1.

"Pending approval, there will be a series of four mailers, PowerPoints, lots of information out there. There will be exhaustive measures taken to educate the community of how, who, what, when—all that," Shobert said.

Though residents pay an annual property tax for fire protection, city officials have said the tax is capped and does not take into account paramedic services.

Further, city officials have said that between 2008 and 2011, the Fire Department experienced a 24-percent decrease in revenue, mostly from declines in property tax revenue. A $700,000 budget gap during the current fiscal year was predicted for the Fire Department.

One Murrieta resident in particular has been vocal in her opposition to the fee.

"A $350 fee for sending the Fire Department out...is going to be a rude awakening for the person who needs help," said resident Jackie Fenaroli, at a previous city council meeting. "Most people would say no, I think that is what you would find most people would say."

Fenaroli has suggested the city find other ways to balance the Fire Department budget.

SA November 21, 2012 at 05:06 PM
When it comes to city, county and/or state employees “experience employees” is an oxymoron as all they are simply thieves as their solution to financial problems is to raise taxes or charge “fees” which well all know are taxes; and if those taxes or fees are not paid they will lien your property.
Nancy Knight November 21, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Rick, you claim to be a firefighter/paramedic. You of course want to think of yourself as a professional but your training is a vocation, two years of community college studies qualified you for your job. I hope your opinion on how the ER works for triage is true and that people who prefer to take their family member to a hospital will get the timely attention they need rather than risk the untimely attention from a Murrieta dispatch service. I didn't say the city "refused" service to someone that caused a death - I said the huge truck was a problem for hills in Murrieta. Timely response is the issue. The family did have other concerns about the paramedic service that they wouldn't divulge but did make the death suspect to them. This example supports people's opinion that we do not need a huge fire engine to transport a paramedic for a medical emergency AND the hills are not in the Cal Fire district. This case was off of Adams Ave. - less than a mile from Station 1. It does appear you have supported the people's idea of transporting paramedics with vans since Cal Fire does it that way. As a public employee since you were 17 you are obviously a feeder at the trough and as a union member you would do or say anything to protect and serve "yourself". If you enjoy reading about facts and corruption in the city you can read my editorial in the upcoming December issue of The Community Bugle online at www.thebugle.net that will be posted on or about November 29.
Rick Towne November 21, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Nancy, I don't claim I am firefighter/paramedic, I am I believe that's what I said. Adams street is not the hills of Murrieta. There is no problem getting a fire engine in that area at all. Yes city of Murrieta does use AMR Ambulance to transport medical-aid patients to hospital. I believe this forum is regarding a fee for a fire engine to show up at your home or business in the city of Murrieta. But yes I am a union member, I will never apologize for being a public employee, I am an honest employee and work hard for my money. I don't want to sound dramatic, but have severed several injuries while doing my job, with two of them resulting in surgeries. I can count at least three times I said to myself, I may not make it home to see my children. So to put my profession and my education down, which you have no personal knowledge, is once again how you operate. By putting people down and trying scare people that fire department personnel won't show up if you pay this "fee" that city is putting place. I don't take it personally, these attacks you make on me. I'm sure you mean well and you want the best people, you just go about the wrong way. No facts, scare tactics, and personal attacks. To be perfectly honest with you, I will not be reading the Bugle, I don't consider a publication, where you have to them to publish an article as a place for a source of news.
Rick Towne November 21, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Where you have to pay to publish an article.
Nancy Knight November 21, 2012 at 06:44 PM
The Patch informed me that Rick Towne, responded to me that "Adams street is not the hills of Murrieta. There is no problem getting a fire engine in that area at all." He is a firefighter/paramedic that lives in Murrieta. Obviously he made a comment that is not based on fact. If you go to Home Depot and look to the west you will see the hills between Jefferson and Adams where homes have been sited there since the 70s. He also said he doesn't read news stories "Where you have to pay to publish an article". This man is totally misinformed. Many firefighters in our city are intelligent even without a degree from a university but this one is not one among them. The Community Bugle in print and online at www.thebugle.net is citizen media. None of our contributors have to pay to publish an article. My editorials are well researched as well. Savvy citizens have been reading The Bugle for over 15 years. Happy reading the upcoming December issue "Most corrupt county and most corrupt city in the state"
Rick Towne November 21, 2012 at 07:19 PM
This is a very angry person, don't fall for her misinformed scare tactics. Happy holidays Nacy. I'm glad you have changed your opinion about Murrieta Fire fighters, I feel I have succeeded. I'm sorry your life is filled so much anger. I truley wish the best for you and your family. Thank you everyone for the discussions, happy holidays to all. Goodbye
MALIBUSHYLAH November 21, 2012 at 07:34 PM
WOW!!! really?! it's no wonder Nancy Knight, you lost your bid to City Council in 2008. really you have to attack peoples character in this forum?! this article is about a fee charged to the city of Murrieta residents. why you would stoop so low about somebody getting a 2 year college degree to be a firefighter / paramedic is absolutely insulting. I work for the DOD- daily I work with Marines and see the activities at Camp Pendleton.... you people have no idea what the military, firefighters, police dept put themselves up to. they chose to sign on the dotted line to fight for us protect us, and take care of us. it is a sacrifice that they made for us. how dare you insulte anyone's intelligence like that?!! WOW!!! You are a very unhappy person living here. Id be GLAD to help you move.
MALIBUSHYLAH November 21, 2012 at 07:44 PM
on another note.... I just came from fire station 1. I spoke to them directly about some of the fees charged. for clarification or if anybody did not know this: the fire department is not funded under the general fund like the police department is. they are getting the revenue from other sources like property taxes and sales taxes ( they collect a percentage). also someone asked about what happens if there's an accident in the middle of an intersection...so here's the answer: say you are in an accident on the corner of Kalmia and Jefferson. 1) if a serious accident and FD shows up and you are a resident that's IS NOT subscribed ($48/yr) you will get a bill for 350. 2) if you are a resident and you are subscribed, you pay nothing. 3) if the people in the accident are NOT from Murrieta and receive care from a Murrieta FD / Paramedics, they will get a bill for $350. my comment to that is "wow, what a rude awakening". I'm still not really supporting the whole ide, but I went directly to the sources (ie FD) rather than hear the ramblings of people like Nancy Knight.
Rick Towne November 21, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Good info thanks
Nancy Knight November 21, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Poor Sheila Shaw and Rick Towne, both feeders at the trough. What makes me angry is liars, swindlers and corruption. Rick tried unsuccessfully to fool you into thinking I was the liar. He was proven wrong. And for Sheila, don't even attempt to compare our fine military men and women to the services of public employees who feed at the trough through council endorsed connections. AND as I noted in an earlier comment to Tobias, declining market values do not impact our Fire District who get $40 per dwelling unit or per acre in some cases to run the whole department. Now consider that the additional $48 per year that they want to charge for paramedic service will more than double their revenue. Paramedic service does not double their costs. That is some creative financing. Union boss idea no doubt. And a swindling of our citizens' hard earned money.
Rick Towne November 21, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Hey Sheila, I enjoyed our conversation and discussion on here, even if we didn't or don't agree on all issues. A pleasure none the less. I hope the holidays find you and your family safe and happy. Take care. Rick
MALIBUSHYLAH November 21, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Right there Nancy is the reason you will NEVER be elected onto any city council. Insulting people and their education is just a reflection of your true character: an angry, upset at the world, person. Are you trying to tell me that the Military FD/Paramedics are more elite than our own here in the city? They BOTH provide a service. No? They BOTH signed on the dotted line to do the EXACT same job. Or is that not true? Someone correct me if I am wrong. The military FD/MP/Dr's and nurses all have the same "principals" and "job descriptions" as do those that are within our city. They work to save lives, protect and serve. SO, with that, there is no DIFFERENCE than "fine military men and women" when it comes to those principals. Did you know that our Marines operate millions of dollars in equipment everyday and have a HS Diploma? Same for the FD. Yes, they get "trainining". So again, makes NO difference rather you are military or local level - education is the same and they put their lives on the line for YOU. You trailed off with insulting comments to those that work to protect and serve our city. This article is about the $350 fee. If you have a better suggestion on saving money for the city, have at it. I don't agree entirely with the fee, and I believe there are other ways to handle this. Anyhow, lighten up, take a chill pill and enjoy your turkey Nancy.
Nancy Knight November 22, 2012 at 09:28 AM
@ Sheila You asked for "someone to correct you if you were wrong". For starters the fire service at Camp Pendleton is not provided by military personnel. Those services are provided by the forestry service. I repeat "don't even attempt to compare our fine military men and women to the services of public employees who feed at the trough through council endorsed connections." Military men and women give up their life for pennies. They are heroes. Public employees fall far short of admiration. How many high school graduates, as is the case with some of Murrieta's firefighters, can get a job paying anywhere close to $100k with benefits and a huge retirement? It's about the money! The police and firefighter union bosses in Murrieta, (the only city in the county to have their own departments by the way) play the game of "politics before public safety" and endorse councilmembers based on who they can best manipulate. People who don't know how the game is played think the big signs that say "Cops and Firefighters" endorse this one or that gets attention. Randon Lane and Doug McAllister won in 2008 and I came in third. I was not endorsed by the PD and Fire Dept. and as I said to them in my interview "I don't expect your endorsement, I expect you to get out of politics". It was too much to ask. There is just too much money at stake and they, the bosses, love that power.
2Whistle November 22, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Nancy knight....your punch drunk and full of bitterness and hate that you spew through your propaganda Bugle paper. You rarely produce a fair and equatable article and rarely ever study the facts of the issue being printed. Your not a reporter but a loose cannon. By the way the city of Corona, Riverside, Palm Springs, cathedral city have their own fire and police departments and idyllwild has their own fire department. So keep typing cause it proves your clueless and have no business having a news paper. Thanks for showing your true colors. Happy Thanksgiving folks!
Nancy Knight November 22, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Hello Whistle, and thanks for the update on cities that have their own PD in our county. I should have said Murrieta is the only city in Southwest Riverside County to have their own PD and Fire District. The other cities in our area contract for county sheriffs and firemen. Most folks don't know this. Good info for our readers. Happy Thanksgiving Readers.
Wayne November 22, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Didn't the murrieta firefights just take a pay cut, and start paying their whole retirement? I thought they also took a pay cut a few years ago too. And didn't the police officers get a raise? Wow, those firemen sure sound like greedy union workers (sarcasm)! Why are the cops getting raises while the firemen are taking cuts?
Nancy Knight November 22, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Excellent question Wayne. To begin with the PD salaries come out of the General Fund and the General Fund is supposedly down due to the decreasing market values of homes which directly affects the city coffers. If the Pd got raises in these hard times then you need to look to your councilmen who were endorsed by the cops for many years. Favors most likely needed to be honored. Power you know. Now for the Fire District. They have their own budget. A budget that is not affected by decreasing property values. They continue to get the same revenue regardless of the economy ($40 per dwelling unit or acre last time I checked my assessments). The big question now is why are their sycophants so defensive in this blog? As a District they have the ability to put a bond measure before the voters and I am certain it would pass at $10 per dwelling unit which should more than cover paramedic costs. They chose not to. Where is the money? Are there wrongful death cases they had to pay off out of court? I especially noticed the blogger who tried to make the death that I know of that was suspect by the family as a lie. Something is not transparent in this whole controversy.
Wayne November 22, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Thank you Nancy. So the $40/household has been in place since the formation of the district. Hasn't gone up since. I remember about 12+ years ago the fire dept started offering paramedic services. I don't remember any fees, taxes, or subscriptions asked for at that time. Must be because times were "good." Well,, times still are not good and I bet, like everyone else, they were banking on a "turn-around" by now. Initially, I wasn't happy about the subscription fee either. I followed the council meetings on the city's website and watched the fire chief and union president plead its necessity. They cut and froze over 25% of positions, stopped buying new equipment, and took deep cuts into their wallets. A couple months ago the patch wrote about how the firemen took a 9% paycut and start paying their retirement. Feeding at the trough? Not how I see it!! I don't know if an increase in the fire fee would have passed, I'd like to think it would because I know the police and fire are greatly appreciated in our city... But either way, I will subscribe to this because I saw the fire fighters made big sacrifices first. It's too bad the city won't help subsidize their budget!
Wayne November 22, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Btw. Happy thanksgiving everyone. Especially to all the military, firemen, and cops that don't get to spend today with their families.
censored messenger November 22, 2012 at 08:22 PM
At over $100+K annually they will survive, they are damn lucky to have such a job and there are 50 qualified and trained officers that would take the job for half that wage. The Fire and Police together with the Teacher's UNIONS have bankrupted this state with unfunded pensions and they can now be seen as the enemy. BLAME THEM and not the property taxpayers. Padlock the Senior Center and charge admission to Murrieta Library if you must, The fire/police/paramedics are part of basic services, if you can't provide for that within your annual budget then declare City bankruptcy and step aside...you incompetent parasites
2Whistle November 22, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Nancy I now have a better idea on why you lost your council race......you still do not have any idea on how your basic city services are funded and yet you keep blogging with misinformation as if it is the gospel truth. I am no expert but I do have a grasp on how our city funds the different departments. Let me shed some light on the matter. It is my understanding (from my property tax bill) that the city has 3 special districts...CSD, library, and the fire department. According to my tax bill the fire departments assessment fee is $41. (I might be off by a dollar or two) this is the CHEAPEST out of all three. So for conversation sake lets say there are 30,000 roof tops in Murrieta. So 30,000X40=1.2 million.
2Whistle November 22, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Mind you this number of $40 has never changed to keep up with inflation since it was put in place in the early 90's.......no way to keep up with inflation.....big problem for any public or private operation. Try living on your 1991 salary in 2012 or if you bought a car In The early 90's try buying a like car today for the same price. You can't. Now the rest of the fire departments budget is made up of property taxes and from what I can tell from the city's on line documents is some fire prevention fees. That means the bulk of the fire departments budget is tied to the housing market. When values go down property taxes go down which means their budget will fall on par with the property taxes. The city pays $0 out of their general fund to the fire department. The general fund is mostly made up of sales tax revenue. Now dont take my word for gospel. Do what poster Sheila did......go to the scource..... go talk to the fire chief to find out the real story instaed of spreading rumors of death lawsuits. Stuff like that is very childish demeaning and not a good rpresentation of this fine community. I do agree with Wayne and he is spot on regarding what our firemen just gave up and what the PD just got.
2Whistle November 22, 2012 at 08:40 PM
So Nancy take my challenge of getting a free education and set up a meeting with the fire chief and report back. I do want to know one thing though.....why do you have such heartache with our dedicated public safety professionals? And where were you during the council meeting when the council voted on this??
Wayne November 22, 2012 at 08:48 PM
CM, I just googled Murrieta City Fire Salary Schedule and found a document on the city's website that listed the salaries for all city employees. Just two years ago paramedic firefighters salary was 50-60k. Not 100k. So, I'm assuming the difference comes from overtime that must be paid out if firemen are sick, or take time off. They have to staff all the fire stations, right? Because public safety is important, right? Sounds like CM is just jealous because nobody cares when he takes a day off. Nobody has to come in and cover his shift because whatever he does really isn't that important. Btw, a plumber recently charged me $55/hr for labor. That's more than an hourly rate for a murrieta paramedic firefighter. How is that even fair??
2Whistle November 22, 2012 at 08:49 PM
And to censored messenger....damn lucky to have such a job???? So their fire chief that died of cancer the fireman that died of a parasite he got from fighting a fire and the the patch ran a story on one of the firemen just getting over job related cancer are all lucky for being dead or getting cancer? If its so gravy and easy go fill out an application please and let know the results. Your a high school grad at minimum i take it so you should be able to qualify.
2Whistle November 22, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Time to carve a turkey and enjoy my family! Eat up folks there is a lot to be thankful for!
Ethan Edwards November 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Wayne and 2Whistle....great posts!!! Its these Tea Party types that have been brainwashed into thinking that public servants, who are in unions are all crooks. They don't appreciate that unless you make around $100K living in Southern California, you cannot have a home and a couple of cars. Fireman, Police, Teachers, Nurses, all save lives and teach our children. They must be experienced and qualified. You don't hear the Tea Party conservatives attack a Corporate CEO pulling down a million and then parachuting iut of failure with many more millions. All because unions, contribute to Democrats and large Corporations contribute to Republicans. Both trying to buy power. Our Public Servants deserve even more then we give them for their sacrifice for our families. They deserve our thanks TODAY of all days. Tax me more.....because they are worth it, and I have no kids in play. I'll pay more for their kids educations.
casey November 25, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Just fyi per mfd chief shobert if the ambulance arrives on scene first and cancels the fire engine cause they are not needed and the ambulance can handle it by them selves they are not allowed to cancel and have to show up on scene whether they are needed or not... I'm pretty sure that's so they can get paid and I personally think that's junk and very shady
sam marcus March 08, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Shame on the city council, Shame on the fire dept. Manage yor budgets like your citizens must. And, stop just going to us for more and more money to pay for your poor management and over spending. Have you ever thought of any one but yourselves? You got my last pancake dollar any my last vote. Perhaps this will wake up our community and convince everyone to vote for competent people in our next election!
American Right March 09, 2013 at 12:59 AM
It is Murrieta Council stupidity at its finest!


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