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Ord 37-2011 8/2/2011ORDINANCE NO. 37 -2011 Ordinance Amending Chapters 42 And 48 Of The Code Of Ordinances Of The City Of Wichita Falls, Relating To Ambulances; Providing For A Penalty Not To Exceed $2,000 Per Violation; And Providing For Codification WHEREAS, the City of Wichita Falls is authorized to regulate ambulance services pursuant to its home rule authority; WHEREAS, the City Council finds that the regulation of ambulance services in the City of Wichita Falls as provided in this ordinance is necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare; WHEREAS, the City Council finds that revision of the existing Emergency Services Ordinance would better address the ambulance needs of the community and be in the best interest of all citizens; WHEREAS, the City Council finds this regulation is authorized pursuant to state policies that authorize Texas home rule municipalities to limit competition to the extent necessary to ensure efficient ambulance service to persons utilizing local streets and medical facilities; and WHEREAS, the City Council finds that the fees set out in Section 2 of this ordinance are reasonable and appropriate for the services rendered, and do not exceed the amount necessary to administer and enforce this ordinance. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS, THAT: 1. Ambulances Chapter 42, Emergency Services, of the Wichita Falls Code of Ordinances is hereby amended to amend Article II, Ambulances, which will read as follows: ARTICLE I. AMBULANCES Division 1. Definitions 42 -1. Definitions Ambulance means a motor vehicle that is designed or constructed, staffed, equipped and maintained or operated for the transportation of medical patients and shall include transfer ambulances. Ambulance Service means a person or company that uses ambulances to transport patients for emergency and non - emergency purposes where the transport originates and terminates in the territorial limits of Wichita Falls. Director means the director of the Wichita Falls Department of Health or his /her designee. Franchise means an agreement between the City and a person, under which said person is granted the privilege of operating an ambulance service inside the city for a specific period of time and in accordance with the specific terms and conditions of the agreement. Operate means to drive or to be in control of an ambulance. Person includes a corporation, organization, government or government subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, and any other legal entity. Primary facility means a fixed facility from which the primary administrative operations of the ambulance service in Wichita County are conducted and at which ambulances are parked, stored, repaired, or maintained. Transfer Ambulance means any motor vehicle used primarily for transferring the injured or sick under circumstances which do not constitute an emergency and which have not been represented as an emergency. Division 2. Franchise Certificates It is the city's policy to provide for and to promote adequate and efficient ambulance service in the city. To this end, this article provides for the regulation of ambulance rates and services, to be carried out in a manner that protects the public health and safety, promotes the public convenience and necessity, and respects the concept of free enterprise. 42 -2. Required; Franchise It shall be unlawful to operate an ambulance service in the city except under authority of a franchise for ambulance service granted by the City Council. 42 -3. Qualifications for Franchise Holder To apply for a franchise, an applicant must: (1) Have its primary facility located in the territorial limits of Wichita Falls; (2) Maintain at least 4 ambulances currently licensed by the State of Texas, and based at its primary facility; and (3) Meet the minimum vehicle, equipment and staffing requirements for each ambulance as established by the Texas Department of State Health Services. 42 -4. Franchise Application (a) Every person proposing to operate an ambulance service in the city shall make application, in writing, in the form promulgated by the Director, requesting that the City Council grant it a franchise certificate to operate an ambulance service under this article. The application shall be sworn and filed with the Director, setting forth full and complete information on the following matters: (1) The name of the applicant, applicant's owners, and all other identifying and ownership information which may be required by the Director. (2) A compiled financial statement with note disclosure from a certified public accountant. (3) A complete statement of the assets to be used in the ambulance service for which the application is being made, together with full information on liabilities existing against such assets. (4) The number of vehicles and a general description of the vehicles the applicant proposes to use in the operation of the ambulance service; a description of the operations of the proposed ambulance service and location of the primary facility and other facilities to be used in the operation of the ambulance service. (5) A description of any past business experience of the applicant, particularly from any municipality in providing emergency medical services; and the identification and description of any franchise, including any revocation or suspension thereof, held by the applicant. (6) The telephone numbers the applicant intends to use for the ambulance service. (7) Such additional factual information as the applicant may desire to include, and such additional factual information as may be required by the Director, to aid the City Council in reviewing the application. (b) The Director shall submit an ambulance franchise application to the City Council within 60 days following receipt of the latter of 1) an application fully completed in accordance with the aforementioned requirements and the form promulgated by the Director, 2) the application fee. 42 -5. Investigation of Application and Approval (a) Upon receipt of an application for a franchise, the Director shall investigate and make findings of fact concerning public convenience and necessity and other relevant factors. (b) The applicant for a franchise certificate has the burden of proving that the public convenience and necessity require the proposed ambulance service and that the applicant is qualified and financially able to provide the service proposed in the application. (c) The Director shall obtain a criminal background check on each applicant, its officers, and the owners deemed by the Director to be substantial, and any other related party whose criminal background check the Director determines will aid the City Council in reviewing the application. 42 -6. Hearing on Application; Requirement for Issuance (a) Upon receipt of the application for a franchise, the City Council shall set a date for public hearing upon the application, and the Director shall notify the applicant of the hearing date in writing. (b) The Council shall review the application and conduct such hearings and investigation as it deems appropriate. In determining whether or not a franchise should be granted, the Council shall give weight and due regard to, among other things, the following: (1) Probable permanence and quality of the service offered by the applicant; (2) The financial ability and responsibility of the applicant and its organization and personnel; (3) The age and quality of applicant's equipment; and, (4) The experience of the applicant in providing emergency medical services. (c) If the City Council finds that the public convenience and necessity require the operation of the ambulance service, and that the applicant is fit to conduct the business and that the other requirements of this article have been complied with, it shall grant the franchise by ordinance. Once granted, the franchise shall remain in effect for a period of five years from the date granted or such lesser time as determined by the City Council. 42 -7. Multiple franchises must be disclosed. No person shall have any pecuniary interest in more than one current, valid ambulance franchise in the City without disclosing such interest to the Director. 42 -8. Transferability A franchise issued pursuant to this division may not be transferred to another person unless the proposed transferee and new transferor file a written application for the transfer with the Director, and the transfer application is approved by the City Council. 42 -9. Revocation of Franchise An ambulance franchise is revocable by the City Council after written notification to franchise holder and a public hearing before the City Council in which the City Council finds that such franchise holder is in violation of this article and the violation warrants revocation. 42 -1o. Annual Franchise Fee A franchise holder shall pay an annual franchise fee to director. Such fee must be paid, without proration, at the time of the issuance of the franchise and on or before the first business day of each year thereafter. 42- 11- 42 -19. Reserved Division 3. Regulation of Franchise 42 -2o. Holder's and Operator's Duty to Comply (a) In the operation of an ambulance service, a franchise holder shall comply with the terms and conditions of the franchise holder's franchise and, except to the extent expressly provided otherwise by the City, shall comply with this chapter, regulations established under this chapter, and other law applicable to the operation of an ambulance service in this State. (b) While on duty, an operator shall comply with this chapter, regulations established under this chapter and other law applicable to the operation of an ambulance and a motor vehicle in this state. 42 -21. Insurance -Ambulances (a) Before an ambulance permit is issued to operate an ambulance service in the city, the franchise holder shall procure and furnish to the Director and shall thereafter keep in full force and effect the following insurance coverage as required by the State of Texas. (b) Every insurance policy shall insure all of the ambulances owned, leased, contracted for or controlled by the holder of such franchise and used in such ambulance service for which a franchise has been authorized. Such policy shall inure to the benefit of any person who shall be injured or who shall sustain damage to property caused by the operation of such vehicles. (c) Every such policy of insurance shall be issued by an insurance company organized and existing under the laws of Texas or having a legal right to do business in Texas. (d) The franchise holder shall keep current insurance certificates covering all of its vehicles on file with the Director during the term of the franchise and shall cause current evidence of insurance for each of its vehicles to be kept in said vehicle. Insurance certificates and policies shall name the City of Wichita Falls as an additional insured, provide the City with at least 30 days notice of cancellation, non - payment of premium, or non - renewal, and include a waiver of subrogation in favor of the City. Secs. 42 -22 — 42 -29. Reserved. Division 4. Ambulance Requirements 42 -30. Ambulance Permit Required It shall be unlawful to operate an ambulance unless it is permitted by the City where the ambulance picks up and drops off a patient in the territorial limits of the City of Wichita Falls. 42 -31. Ambulance permit (a) The franchise holder shall obtain an ambulance permit for each ambulance utilized in his ambulance service, indicating the ambulance's authority to operate, which shall show thereon the date of expiration of the permit for the ambulance. An ambulance permit must be attached to the left rear window of the ambulance in a manner approved by the Director. The franchise holder must pay a permit fee for each ambulance permit he obtains from Director. (b) A person commits an offense if he: (1) Attaches an ambulance permit to a vehicle not authorized to operate as an ambulance; (2) Forges, alters, or counterfeits an ambulance permit required by this section; (3) Possesses a forged, altered, or counterfeited ambulance permit required by this section; or (4) Displays more than one ambulance permit issued by the city on a vehicle at the same time. (5) Attaches an ambulance permit to an ambulance to which it was not issued. (c) An ambulance permit assigned to one ambulance is not transferable to another ambulance. 42 -32. Ambulance permits; Expiration All ambulance permits expire on December 31 of the year in which they were issued. 42- 33- 42 -39. Reserved Division 5. Enforcement 42 -40. Suspension The following regulations apply to the suspension of a franchise: (1) The Director may suspend a franchise if the director determines that the franchise holder: a. failed to comply with this article b. intentionally or knowingly impeded the Director, his staff, or other law enforcement officials in their duty or execution of their authority C. ceases to qualify for a franchise under this article. (2) Suspension of a franchise does not affect the expiration date of the ambulance permits or the franchise. (3) Suspension of a franchise means that all ambulances service must cease. 42 -41. Appeal Procedure (a) Whenever a franchise suspension is issued by the Director, the franchise holder shall be notified in writing of the penalty. Opportunity for a hearing will be provided if the franchise holder files a written request with the City Manager within 10 business days. The franchise holder shall be afforded an opportunity for a hearing within 10 business days of a request for a hearing. If no request for a hearing is filed within 10 business days, the administrative penalty or suspension is sustained and becomes final. (b) A notice as required in this article is properly served when it is personally delivered to the franchise holder or when it is sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the addresses provided by franchise holder in its franchise application. (c) The City Manager or his designee shall conduct the hearings provided for in this article at a time and place designated by him. Based upon the recorded evidence of such hearing, the City Manager shall make final findings and shall sustain, modify, or rescind said administrative penalties considered in the hearing. 42 -42-42 -145. Reserved 2. Ambulance Fees Article VIII, Health Department Fees, of Chapter 48 of the Code of Ordinances is amended to add Division 4, Ambulance Fees, thereto, which will read as follows: Division 4. Ambulance Fees Sec. 48 -86. Fees for Franchise Applications, Franchises, and Annual Permits. There shall be charged the following fees for ambulance franchise applications, franchises, and annual permits issued by the City of Wichita Falls under Chapter 42, Emergency Services: (a) Initial franchise application fee: $500 (b) Annual franchise fee: $100 (c) Annual permit fee per ambulance: $100 3. Penalty This ordinance regulates fire safety and public health and sanitation, and shall be punishable by a penalty of up to $2,000 per violation and as provided by Section 1- 14 of the Wichita Falls Code of Ordinances. 4. Codification The City Council intends the provisions of this ordinance to become a part of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Wichita Falls, and sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention. Statutory and ordinance references herein may be modified as necessary. PASSED AND APPROVED this the 2nd day of August, 2011. MAYOR ATTEST: City Clerk