Today at Toledo City Council’s agenda review a “revised” piece of legislation concerning the fire fees will be presented. The Toledo Free Press reported on this Thursday but at that point, Council did not have the legislation.
Now it’s there…Establish and implement fire service fees for Fire & Rescue Operations – nothing appears to have been changed and it still states that those who don’t have insurance can be billed directly:
SECTION 6. The City, or their authorized agent, subject to the conditions and limitations of this ordinance, shall submit an invoice to the person, entity or relevant insurance company covering the particular loss for the emergency services rendered. If it can be reliably determined that there is no insurance coverage for a particular emergency incident which causes the Toledo Fire Department to use, or incur loss, damage, and wear and tear to apparatus, tools, equipment, and materials; the City may recover any such fees from the person or entity that received said emergency services or the person or entity responsible for the debts and obligations of the person or entity that received such emergency services. Recipients of the services of the Toledo Fire Department shall respond freely and cooperatively to fire service inquiries (including those of their authorized agent), regarding their insurance coverage. Recipients of the services of the Toledo Fire Department shall be invoiced directly under the terms of this ordinance if they do not carry insurance sufficient to cover the impact to the City of Toledo’s loss of capital or material.
On April 29th this was before Toledo City Council – the ordinance failed:
Craig, McNamara, Sarantou, Sobczak, Szollosi, Brown – voted yes
Waniewski, Webb, Collins, Copeland – voted no –
For this to pass they need one more vote, I’m assuming that since Councilwoman Shultz and Councilman Ashford were not present at the time of that vote — it’s being assumed that either one of the four who voted no, or Shultz or Ashford will vote yes. It’s ironic that it doesn’t appear to matter if Council votes something down, that it will just be re-submitted with apparently no changes.
I’ll report on the discussion that takes place at Agenda Review on this later tonight and I also want to point out this article MN cities may charge fees on emergency services. I recommend reading it in full but what I found interesting was this:
Since 2004, Fridley has billed for a range of services, including auto accident extrication, medical care, accident site cleanup, extinguishing of negligent fires, ice and water rescues, and more.
In Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View, where the fee — generally $375-$600 — has been levied for more than a decade, Fire Chief Nyle Zikmund said he has never heard of folks hesitating to call for help, even with the fee. The arrangement allows the department, a private, nonprofit entity, to add several thousand dollars to its rescue replenishment fund every year, he said.
In Fridley, however, Fire Chief John Berg said much of the potential profit is eaten up by administration hassles.
“It is not a revenue-maker,” he said.
In both cities, they say, a chunk of the fees are collected from nonresidents, who are not paying to support the departments.
“It’s our obligation to capture some of the cost supported by our taxpayers,” Zikmund said.