Youngstown fire fees to start in February
City will get 80% of money collected
YOUNGSTOWN — It won’t be until next month that the fire department will start charging for services, including responding to motor vehicle accidents and hazardous material spills.
While city council approved the plan Oct. 2 by a 4-3 vote, the board of control didn’t finalize it until Tuesday.
The initial delay was the result of fire Chief Barry Finley wanting to meet with city council to discuss specifics of the policy before it was implemented as a result of the close vote.
That meeting was Nov. 14 with only two council members — Anita Davis, D-6th, and Basia Adamczak, D-7th — attending.
The city also had to finalize paperwork for a contract with Fire Recovery USA LLC of Roseville, Calif., to bill and seek collection from those who use fire department services.
“It’s now just before board of control,” Finley said Tuesday. “It will start next month.”
Under the contract, the city will get 80 percent of the money collected with Fire Recovery keeping the rest.
The fees include $487 for typical vehicular accidents, $677 for a car fire, $1,461 to take someone out of a vehicle with the use of equipment after an accident, $554 to clean up hazardous fluids spilled in an accident, at least $448 for the first-response vehicle plus $56 per rescue person for a special rescue in swift water and in confined spaces.
There’s also a $448-per-hour charge for each engine and “miscellaneous equipment” fee of $336 for vehicle accidents.
Council members who voted against the implementation of fire fees did so for a variety of reasons. These included allowing the city to bill nonresidents if their insurance doesn’t cover the costs, concerns it would keep people from visiting the city and that the legislation allows the department to charge for too many services, including responding to fires.
Finley said his department has no plans to charge for fires. The contract includes that option at an hourly charge of $448 per fire engine and $560 per fire vehicle.
Other options in the contract that Finley said the department won’t charge for include $448 to establish a helicopter landing zone to transport patients to hospitals and as much as $2,240 for water rescues.
The department won’t charge city residents for any services, Finley said. Their insurance companies would be charged and what the companies don’t cover will be written off. This has raised some concerns from those who say the policy would result in an increase in insurance premiums if the city bills the companies.
For nonresidents, their insurance will first be billed for the fees, Finley said. But if insurance doesn’t cover it or they don’t have insurance, nonresidents would be charged.