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Fight fire with … fees?

Submitted by on 1, December 2, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

Back in August, I reported that the City Council was considering charging folks for non-emergency public safety calls like stuck elevator calls or getting locked out of the house. Well, here comes the (post-election!) sequel: An ordinance that will make it so.

City officials figure they can make $21,420 a year off these non-emergency calls (and for those of you keeping score at home, that’s just under a week of fire department OT). Based on the 102 such calls they got last year, that’s $210 a pop.

The official charge will be 30 minutes of the fire department’s time, with a typical non-emergency response for snafus like getting locked out of the house or a flooded basement being a ladder truck and three fire personnel. If the call lasts longer than 30 minutes, get ready for a bigger bill.

If a real emergency exists, however (e.g., you left the gas on when you shut the door without your keys, there are people trapped in that stuck elevator or you just drowned your water heater), you are apparently in the clear.

And folks making false reports, in addition to the criminal charges I’d imagine they would face, will also get hit with the fee.

The staff report is here. The fee ordinance is on the council agenda tonight, along with an extension of the pot club moratorium (they’re thinking they’ll have rules for the clubs in June 2010) and a very interesting list of candidates for seats on the city’s Economic Development Commission.

As always, stay tuned!

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