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Fire fees finalized

Submitted by on 1, February 3, 2009 – 7:45 amNo Comment

Fire Chief David Kapler is back, at the City Council’s request, with version 2.1 of a plan to charge residents and building owners for making certain non-emergency calls.

In this latest and quite possibly final version of the plan, people who call about stuck elevators, flooded basements, getting locked out of their (empty of small children) house (the stove was off, right?) will get one freebie call to the fire department every six months. But after that, they’d get served with a notice saying they’ll be charged for the next one.

The minimum charge will be $339, the hourly rate for a fire company. If the call takes up more than an hour of the department’s time, the bill will be more, and if they have to call out the crew they’d need for a full first alarm gig – that’s three engines, two trucks, an ambulance and a chief officer – the bill swells to $2,118 an hour.

The new plan is intended to ding property owners who generate repeat fire calls because they fail to maintain their property. Other examples of calls that could generate charges include electrical wiring arcing and calls to laundromats whose plugged-up lint traps cause the machines to overheat.

Fire staff couldn’t say how much the plan could generate. The department got 102 non-emergency calls last year. For more on this, check out my last post on the proposed plan and editorial on the earlier version of the plan, which offered no freebies.

And just as a side note, tonight’s meeting agenda is loaded pretty up pretty heavily. Any bets on how late the meeting will go?

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