Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

April 4, 2013

Council names assessor, farms out 911 billing

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Common Council appointed an acting assessor and voted to privatize the city’s ambulance billing department Wednesday.

Former Amherst assessor Harry Williams, an employee of Girasole-Penale Appraisal LLC, is appointed as Lockport’s acting assessor for a 15-month period.

Girasole-Penale is running the city assessment department on contract through July 2014. The firm has assigned Williams to the city office two days per week. Among his duties is signing of the city’s annual assessment roll. He’ll be paid by the firm, not the city.

Williams, the Amherst town assessor for more than 30 years, retired from that post last year.

Lockport hired Girasole-Penale with the understanding that the firm would assign a seasoned assessor to the city. Williams more than fits the bill, according to R. Charles Bell, Lockport director of planning and development.

Williams “has a lot of experience. In 30-plus years (in Amherst) he’s seen it all. ... His credentials are impeccable,” Bell said.

Also, the Council approved an agreement with MultiMed Inc. to take over billing of city ambulance charges.

The Baldwinsville-based private company promises to generate bills within three days, manage patient payment plans and negotiate with patients’ insurance carriers to get the carriers picking up as much of the tab as possible.

MultiMed will do the work for 10 percent of total annual billings, according to Mayor Tucker. The city is budgeting an expense of $35,000 for the remainder of this year.

The city employee who handled ambulance billing is being reassigned to the accounting department, at her same pay rate, Tucker said.

In other business, the Council approved hiring Joe Cassenti as the city’s IT services specialist. Cassenti replaces IT guy Pete Sharkey, who retired. The IT post is a half-time position with annual pay of $17,500.

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