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Baldwinsville firm hired to handle Lockport’s ambulance billing

LOCKPORT – The Common Council voted unanimously Wednesday to hire MultiMed Inc. of Baldwinsville as the city’s ambulance billing firm, for a fee of $35,000 for the rest of this year.

Ambulance bills are the city’s largest source of nontax revenue, with bills sent directly to insurance companies. Many are not paid in full, leaving the person who was transported to pay the balance.

MultiMed’s job will be to increase the amount the insurer pays directly to the city.

“We feel we can make a little more money, and we can use Barb’s talents elsewhere,” said Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, referring to Barbara Parker, the Fire Department employee who does the billing.

Mayor Michael W. Tucker said a position will be created in the city accounting office for Parker, where she will concentrate on utility billing.

“Medical billing is becoming very complicated,” said Schrader, D-4th Ward. “It’s best to have a company that understands it.”

On another topic, the Council named Harry Williams, an employee of Girasole-Penale Appraisal of Niagara Falls, as the city’s acting assessor for the next 15 months.

Last month, the Council hired Girasole-Penale on a $53,100 contract for 15 months of assessment services after the retirement of part-time City Assessor Joseph Macaluso. Williams will remain a Girasole-Penale employee and will not receive extra money from the city, according to R. Charles Bell, director of planning and development.

“He’ll be here at least once a week. Up until June 1, maybe two or three times a week,” Bell said. June 1 is the day the tax roll must be completed. It will be Williams’ task to sign the roll.

Another new hire approved Wednesday was Joseph Cassenti of Lockport, who was named the city’s information technology assistant, to replace the retired Peter Sharkey.

Cassenti, like Sharkey, will have a half-time job for $17,500 a year, Tucker said. City Clerk Richelle J. Pasceri said Cassenti, who runs his own computer assistance firm, will not have to quit that business.

The Council also received Tucker’s appointments of five members to the License Revocation Board, whose job is to enforce the city’s requirements for construction contracts to obtain city licenses and permits for work within the city limits.

Whether a company’s license to work in Lockport is revoked has nothing to do with the quality of its work, Deputy Corporation Counsel David E. Blackley said. “It’s not a Better Business Bureau,” he added.

The board, dormant for years, will include Chief Building Inspector Jason Dool; Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick, R-5th Ward; and city residents Brian Bull, James M. Palladino and Daniel Sheehan.