Falck eyes job rewards program as it grows in Aurora

1327

AURORA | Nearly a year after the Dutch-based Falck Corporation of America won a contract to replace longtime ambulance provider Rural/Metro, Aurora’s new private ambulance transportation services company is looking to expand with the help of a city-funded job rewards program.

If accepted, Falck’s Rocky Mountain branch would receive up to $5,000 per job it creates per year, with that money coming from city use tax, city property tax and occupational privilege taxes. It would also be the first city contractor to qualify for the program, according to city officials. 

Falck Rocky Mountain was founded in February 2015 and began serving as Aurora’s ambulance provider seven months later. According to city documents, Falck Rocky Mountain currently employs 135 people and already has 20 positions that pay at least $35,000, a requirement for jobs created under the program. Falck says it has plans to expand to other parts of the state while keeping its headquarters in Aurora.

Falck Rocky Mountain CEO David Patterson said the company has added several jobs through expanding its non-emergency transportation services for local hospitals.

“We’re doing some work for University of Colorado Hospital as well as Medical Center of Aurora currently, and hoping to continue to expand that in the future with other hospitals,” Patterson said.

Falck competed with American Medical Response of Colorado, Inc., and Rural/Metro for the city’s ambulance service provider contract last year in a process that evaluated the companies based on their monetary reimbursement package, scope of work, credentials,  clinical standards and financial position.

Falck received the most points in every category and also promised the largest reimbursement to the city for providing dispatch services and 911 ride-in fees at nearly $1.7 million, according to city documents.

Falck Rocky Mountain, which launched with the city in September, has seven offices in Aurora. If approved for the job rewards program, Falck would also receive an initial one-time payment of $10,000 from the city as part of the program’s one-time payment of $500 per job to assist with hiring costs.

In its application, Falck Rocky Mountain said several of its 20 jobs to be added are office-based positions that include a human resources manager, operations manager, administrative assistant and scheduler. Those positions were located outside of Aurora with the previous contractor.

“We’re committed to the City of Aurora,” said Patterson. “As we grow, Aurora is going to be where we call home.”

City officials say Falck Rocky Mountain’s expansion will benefit Aurora by generating additional tax revenue for the city.

At-Large City Councilman Bob LeGare said he was a little surprised when he saw Falck’s application when it came up on council’s agenda at a study session earlier this month. LeGare, when asked about the lion’s share of Falck’s business being funded by government contracts, said the contractor should not be punished for being successful in serving the city and wanting to expand and create jobs in Aurora.

“Their corporate headquarters are in Aurora and they are creating jobs over and above their contract service to Aurora,” LeGare said.

Patterson, who spent over a decade working for Rural/Metro until 2013, said several former Rural/Metro employees have also joined Falck’s staff, along with new faces.

The city’s job reward program was created in 2010 to stimulate job creation following the 2009 economic downturn.

To qualify for the program, companies must create at least two new positions with a minimum salary level of $35,000, excluding benefits, and a cap of twenty jobs per applicant. The maximum incentive that can be earned is $5,000 per job per year.

City officials say they have approved four applicants for the job reward program since it started six years ago. The program has rewarded employers for creating 24 new jobs in Aurora so far, according to city officials.

Two companies participating in the program are Limtronic, LLC and SSG MEP, Inc. Another two companies — Landmark Packaging and Towne Air Freight — left the program due to closing or terming out of the program, according city officials. The city has paid a total of $13,550 for all jobs created through the rewards program to date.

The city’s job reward program will accept new applicants through the end of 2016. Aurora City Council will have to approve an extension of the program for it to continue after that.

Falck’s participation in the job reward program still needs approval from Aurora City Council and will move next to a regular city council meeting May 9.