Here’s what At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson, chair of the committee on public safety and the judiciary, has to say about the hike in ambulance fees:

“The proposed fees sound steep to me….That could lead to a backlash. After all, we are talking an emergency need,” he says.

He’s somewhat skeptical of the argument that this is no big deal because insurers will pay in the vast majority of cases: “Does that mean we can charge $5,000 and CIGNA will pay?”

And ambulance fees, Mendelson says, shouldn’t be looked at as a way to boost the bottom line. “I don’t think it would go over well: We need $7 million, so we need to tax the victim in the ambulance.”

He’s most critical, though, of the short notice on the public hearing, which was held this morning: “You’re not talking about a lot of time,” he says. “I don’t think this is a hearing where questions will be raised.”