City Controller Alan Butkovitz is pleased that the fire department is planning reforms designed to increase response time by medical units.
Butkovitz, who visited the Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association, has long criticized the city for having too few paramedics to respond to emergencies.
Today, there are many more 911 calls for medical emergencies than fires.
Now, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers plans to increase the number of paramedics. At present, the city employs about 250 medics.
Along with more medics would come additional vehicles.
“There are not enough ambulances,” Butkovitz said.
Butkovitz also criticizes the city’s lack of a priority system for emergency medical calls. He likens it to taking a number at a bakery.
“It’s first-come, first-served,” he said.
Butkovitz also continued to warn folks about the city’s Actual Value Initiative. Next month, the city will mail the assessed value of properties to residents and business owners.
Then, it will be up to City Council to set a tax rate to calculate yearly property taxes.
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In other news from the Jan. 10 meeting:
• Mark Mroz, community relations officer in the 2nd Police District, promoted Operation ID, a nationwide program new to the Philadelphia Police Department.
Citizens can contact their local police district to request gold labels that they can place on valuable items in their home. If the items are stolen and recovered by law enforcement, they can be identified by the owners by the labels.
Police recommend that the identification number be the individual’s driver’s license number. The stickers are made to look like factory labels so crooks don’t recognize them for what they are. Either way, the labels are made in such a way that they are hard to peel off.
Mroz, who left his community relations post on Monday to work for Inspector Mike Cochrane, said burglars like to target laptop computers but know that many models include a LoJack theft recovery device. Thus, they try to dump them quickly.
“They’ll sell a five-hundred-dollar laptop for ten bucks,” he said.
Mroz said one crime on the rise is the theft of expensive Beats headphones.
On a more upbeat note, he said the 2nd and 15th police districts invited 100 elementary school students to a Christmas party. Each child received a gift. The party also featured food, drinks, a disc jockey, a magician and a visit from Santa Claus.
Mroz told residents that the 2nd district’s new commander, Frank Palumbo, plans to attend an upcoming meeting.
• Nick Himebaugh, an aide to state Rep. Brendan Boyle, told the crowd that Boyle was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee for the 2013-14 session.
Himebaugh also brought copies of a newsletter noting that Boyle’s office can help with issues such as winter utility assistance programs, the Actual Value Initiative and SEPTA’s proposed smart card system. Call 215-342-1700.
• Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association will meet on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m., at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, at Cottman and Lawndale avenues. The guests will be the principals of Kennedy Crossan, Immanuel Lutheran and Presentation BVM elementary schools. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org