The Bellevue City Council Really Goofed!

               This could be the biggest mistake that the city council has made in the last four years.  I addressed the city council on Monday, August 13th at their regular Monday night meeting.  When they voted to let the Bellevue Fire Department do the ambulance billing instead of Cashflow Billing, we lost over 1.5 million dollars over the last three years.

               Now the council voted to hire a collection agency to try to collect 540,000 owed the city that the fire department didn’t collect.  Fire Chief Guido tried to blame some of this on Cashflow Billing.  That is not true.  Cashflow Billing is a professional ambulance billing company that does ambulance billing for many cities around the U.S.  Their collection rate for Bellevue was over 98%.  The fire department’s rate is currently around 31%.

               Chief Guido said this was due to hardship situations here in Bellevue.  That is also not true!  Pat Shannon, president of Cashflow Billing, said of all the cities he bills, Bellevue had the fewest hardship cases at less than 1%.  That would mean of the $540,000 owed us, $5,400 at the most would be hardship cases.  So now the city is going to spend $50,000 to try to collect $5,400.

               The night Chief Guido gave his presentation to the city council, I was there.  There was another attorney from Omaha there for some other matter.  He heard Guido’s presentation and said to me afterwards that it was nothing but smoke and mirrors.  Looks as if he was right.  He sold the council a bill of goods.  

               Now the council is either too proud to admit that they made a huge mistake or perhaps they are in on the ruse?  Either way, there should be some consequences.  The three incumbents that are running again all voted for the chief’s plan.  All three, Carol Blood, Scott Houghtaling, and Don Priester, must be replaced.

               Next meeting, the council should vote to have Cashflow Billing try to recover the money that the fire department screwed up on.  They should also give the contract back to Cashflow Billing.  Let the professionals do the job that they did four years ago.

               Maybe we take our city back by having four new councilmembers, Bill Richards, Steve Carmichael, Andy Mahoney, and Paul Cook.  I’m hoping they will truly represent the taxpayers of Bellevue.