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Taking the R out of free

Submitted by on 1, August 20, 2008 – 2:25 pmNo Comment

When Mayor Beverly Johnson mentioned a pending report on questionable police and fire calls – think lockouts and flooded basements – we have to admit, we were excited. Our mayor, rooting out waste in local government! We sat up watching the council meeting on TV late into the evening, like Linus awaiting the Great Pumpkin, to get the 411. And around 10:30, it came. The big report on … how the council can affix fees for some of these services.

“I think one of the messages we have to start helping people understand is, things cost money,” Johnson told the city’s police and fire chiefs, both of whom tried to gently demur on any new fees. “Just because the fire department or the police department doesn’t charge them to get in the house when they lock themselves out doesn’t mean there isn’t a charge to it.”

Building owners could soon expect to pay a pretty steep fare for the fire department to rescue people from stuck elevators, and homeowners could be charged if the police come out to assist them in the event of a lockout. (Police don’t do locked vehicle calls anymore, though; I guess that with complaints about wrecked locks and weatherstripping, that was actually costing them money.) And Johnson wants the police and fire folks to BOL for any other services they could charge for.

We’re wondering what the fire department might be able to get to cut a ring off your finger (I guess they handled three of those calls last year). And maybe they can generate a few extra bucks by getting cats out of trees again?

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