The following were among actions taken by the Alexandria City Council at its Oct. 27 meeting. For further information, call 838-4300.
COLLECTION OF AMBULANCE CHARGES -- The city council voted unanimously to hire a collection agency to handle billing, collect money and keep records for ambulance services provided by the Alexandria Fire Department.
The decision followed a report from the city's director of finance and the acting fire chief that said the city had a dismal 38 percent collection rate in fiscal year 1987, one of the lowest rates in the metropolitan area.
The city was able to collect only $110,422 of $379,911.50 in ambulance fees charged this year. The balance represents 9,630 accounts.
If the agency collected all of the accounts,city revenue from ambulance charges would increase by more than $200,000 a year, according to the report.
"We are obviously delighted it was passed," said Jack Beam, the city's acting fire chief. "It is going to relieve some of the burden that the fire department has been unofficially levied with."
Since the fire department didn't have someone designated to collect money, off-duty officers and clerks handled ambulance bills, Beam said.
The report cites the success experienced by Prince George's County and the District when they began using collection agencies for ambulance billings. In both jurisdictions, the collection rates improved, but the report did not say by how much.
The council decision authorizes the city manager to seek bids from collection agencies using criteria that include cost, corporate experience, prior experience in collecting ambulance charges and a proven record of good ethical practices.
JONES POINT PARKING EXPANSION -- The council unanimously approved construction of 106 additional leased parking spaces at the Jones Point commuter parking lot under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
Currently, there are 84 parking spaces for commuters who are shuttled by bus to Old Town in Alexandria, but only half are used on a daily basis.
"Although this lot is only half occupied, we are requesting expansion of the lot to 190 spaces in anticipation of an increased demand," City Manager Vola Lawson wrote in a memo to the council.
The parking crunch is expected to come when a nearby parking site on Union Street is developed by the Virginia Power Company, Lawson wrote. "When parking is removed from that lot, approximately 200 cars will have to be accommodated," the memo said.
Lawson said it would cost $91,150 to expand the facility. But she expects the city to recoup the money from leasing the spaces over a three-year period. Parking rates are $10 a month for city employees and $25 a month for others.