Passaic, N.J. Considers Charging For Emergency Calls

How Does $1,000 For House Fires And $600 For Car Fires Grab You?

PASSAIC, NJ (CBSNewYork) — When emergency crews respond to a car or building fire in Passaic, a bill might soon be sent out.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney On The Story

When the Passaic City Council meets next Tuesday, Mayor Alex Blanco said what they will not decide to do is levy fees against people in car accidents or building owners whose structures catch fire.

What they will do is go after the insurance companies.

“If you are a policy owner, you are already paying for it — this fire department service charge provision,” the mayor told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney on Friday.

He said the fees would only be applied if claims are made, and no fees would be levied for those without insurance.

There would be a $1,000 fee to respond to fires in buildings over four stories high. Single, two, and three-family homes would be exempt.

As for car fires, auto insurance would be billed $600.

Of course, a concern is that insurance companies will simply jack up their premiums.

“I feel that it would be unethical on their part,” Blanco said.

This is just the latest way the city is trying to deal with its budget woes, including elimination of free Sunday parking and charging for designated handicapped parking.

“We have lost $2 million in [state] aide,” said Blanco.

He said he believes these fees would raise about $200,000 a year.

What do you think about the measure? Sound off in the comments section below!

  • Kry

    guess people better sleep with their credit cards cause i can see where this is going. responding to a fire, the fire fighters will then ask cash or credit where ull be prompted to pay before services rendered. if no pay then watch ur house burn. im also thinking this might also help lenders cause theyll ride with the firetrucks and upon arrival offer you loan packages ONLY after theyve looked at ur credit history OR if your credit is bad and cant get a loan, dont have the cash or enough to cover the costs with a credit card they could also suggest signing over the deed to the house, youll rent it of course for say 3 years unless u get evicted for being late..ya seems like i read something about this once…thoughts of rome come to mind

  • exBronxite

    When Bloomberg in NYC proposed this, the insurance companies came right out and stated that no fire nor home owners insurance policy pays this type of expense. The building owner would have to pay it out of their own pocket. Bloomberg dropped the idea after that.

    But blame your politicians for such foolishness. Where did all the taxes paid go that they can’t afford basic services? And in the City of Passaic, I’m sure there are people living the high life on the taxes paid by the people who live there.

  • Mark

    Are the homes in Passaic worth $1,000.00?

  • justavoter

    It appears that the elected officials cannot spend the taxpayer’s money wisely. Instead they continue to charge their taxpayers more and more which in turn adds the cost of everything back to the taxpayer. The town gets it’s money from local, state and federal taxpayers. Now they want to tax them more when a tragedy strikes. What is wrong with that picture? Even if they charge insurance companies, the insurance companies will increase everybody’s premiums to makeup the cost. The biggest problem is that New Jersey already charges taxes for firetrucks, fire equipment, not to mention water. Have any city employees taken a cut in pay or benefits to allow for this extra charge?
    I would first check to see if city employees have received pay increases or an increases in their personal benefits before charging New Jersey citizens more taxes. Many employees in the workplace around the country have taken pay cuts to remain in business. It does not appear that government employees are willing to take a cut of anything for their town or country.

  • Stacey

    I see everyone missed the comment that there would be no fee assessed to those who don’t have insurance! So now the city will only bill the insurance company. So now let’s all drop our fire insurance coverage. Such stupid idea. Cut the city budget in other areas. I’m sure there is more than $200,000 in waste in the city budget.

  • Mike G
  • Beth

    Just pull the plug and shut off the services and dissolve the town. Lots of people live in unincorporated places and survive just fine.

  • JeffCat

    I think this is great. Maybe, we the people, will get back to policing ourselves and fending for our selves, that we will finally realize that WE THE PEOPLE have the power over our elicited officials. The very same elected officials that are more interested in self preservation than doing what’s right. GOD HELP AMERICA!!!!

  • lcky9

    here in IL we PAY for fire.. police.. etc WITH OUR PROPERTY taxes..IF you do in NJ than to charge AGAIN is ANOTHER tax.. seems that a GOOD lawyer could get this thrown out or at least keep them from charging for it on property tax bills…They tried to do something similar in CHICAGO where their garbage pick up is part of their property taxes.. they wanted residents to pay for a private service UNTIL enough people smartened up and told them than they would have to take the charge for garbage pick up off their tax bills..

  • Done

    Union Firemen are way overpaid. They are the top 2 percent! If you back out the time paid to sleep on the job they work like 50 days a year. The rest of the time is spent on their month long vacations 3x per year or the 3 days off between shifts required to catch up on their sleep. They may do a great job, but the salaries of these nepotistic departments compared to other trades and professional careers is unreal. Who else can retire after 25 years service, with 60 percent salary for life. And like I said, they get paid to sleep 1/3 of the time.

  • Overhere

    What amount of salary increases did management give iotself this year?

  • highwayjournal

    theyve lost 2 million in state aide? didnt we just give egypt over 2 Billion in military aide? …

  • mj

    if they put out the fire and then it turns out you can’t pay the fee , will they come back and burn your house down ?

  • iambicpentamaster

    Makes sense, so long as they’re paid for the effectiveness of the work performed.

    House burns to the ground? They pay the homeowner.

  • bigart

    Always, always expect the worst from government. Government is nobody’s friend.

  • Nik

    Passaic has a lot of abandoned industrial property. I would NOT be surprised if it is being gradually burned for insurance money. “Jewish lightning” struck Passaic in 1986 (?) leaving several blocks charred. Quite recently, I saw some fie damaged buildings along Rt.21.

  • Winston III

    Honestly, when all is said and done… what the hell do we actually pay taxes for??? Please, someone help me understand, this is INSANE!

  • Thoroughly discusted

    Must be a dem….of course we won’t charge those without insurance, we’ll applaud them for living off those that pay their fair share. While we are at it, let’s throw in a little earned income credit, some food stamps, the rest of us can foot the bill!

  • justin

    Big Union contracts ,sooner or later catch up to you & you find you can’t meet your commitments. The Mayor should go after the unions & renegotiate.

  • Smarg

    When you deal with fatherless welfare garbage, illegals and their anchor babies, it is right to ask for renumeration.

  • Jim Shue

    It would be unethical for the Insurance Companies to raise their rates. If they pay out more claims they will raise their rates. Insurance Companies are for profit businesses.

    How about it is unethical to charge me for a service I supposedly pay for with my property taxes?

  • clark1

    this is asinine. government forgets that they exist only to help people. we already pay taxes for services, cut in other areas if you need to. and dont be so moronic to say we will only charge if you have insurance – the insurance companies will increase rates and we all will pay more.

    • Mike

      WOW, lots of dummies out there. Would love to relay all the facts but need to get back to the beach and enjoy the rest of my vacation.

      Clark1, Do you know what an ISO rating is? Thats what sets the premium rates not some fire department getting reimbursed a few hundred bucks after a call. Go to their web site and learn something new.

      • Jim Shue

        Where is that in the car insurance policy?

      • clark1

        Mike, yes i do know what ISO ratings are, and do you really think that insurance companies will start paying out claims and not recoup somewhere. Stay out of the sun…….

  • Mike

    PEOPLE….Stop being sheep and do your own due dilligence. As homeowners and business owners you are already paying for this provision in your insurance policies. Read them!! Under “‘Additional Coverages” look for the “Fire Department Service Charge”. All insurers are required to include this provision. The intent of this provision is give the Fire Departments a small reimbursement to offset cost which, contrary to what the uninformed masses think, are not fully funded by taxes. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WHINERS GAVE YOUR LOCAL FD A CASH DONATION!! The reason they ask for donations is becuase the can’t always afford the gear they need. Wait till a fire truck breaks down on route to put out a fire at your house because they had to forego an expensive repair. Learn the facts and stop crying.
    Ignorance must be bliss, but I can’t fathom why.

    • clark1

      you are an offensive person, and by your reactions are either a government worker, an insurance company employee or a fire department employee – all of whom will benefit from this, but what you aren’t is someone who understands business.

  • ILikeRush

    If they do this these citizens tax money should be returned.

  • Factoid

    When are people going to wake up and JUST NOT PAY?

    What can they do? You can pummel them in court for ages, file bankruptcy, file injunctions, make any town that does this a LIVING HELL for anyone trying to take your money.

    • ILikeRush

      Put a lean on your house so you will not be able to sell.

  • williampenn

    Some well-connected folks are gonna get mighty rich off this scheme.

    • Mike

      I have 25 years experience in this area. Some mighty stupid folks are making a ton of ignorant posts – as are you. Wake up and educate yourself. Blindly posting your thoughts without doing your homework isn’t too bright.

  • Schlep007

    So if you don’t have insurance or don’t put a claim in then no charge? These politicians must be democrats. And bet on the insurance companies raising premiums in this town. Who is he kidding.

    • williampenn

      And lets make sure we the Parasite Class gets more goodies when that new money starts rolling in.

  • derfel cadarn

    So exactly what are taxes be paid for ? The only one being un-ethical here is you Mayor Blanco by foisting the bill for your incompetence upon the insurance companies to make your grab for more taxpayer dollars look like someone elses fault. Seeing as auto insurance is conpulsory it would seem that those NOT carrying insurance should be the ones fined.You sir are a scoundrel to whom the word ethics is unknown

  • John Malverne

    How about we just stop cops and firement from retiring at 50? Cut back vacation and sick time to 2 weeks total, like everyone else. Make them pay for all their health benefits.

    Then we won’t have to pay for basic services 9 times over.

    It’s hard to believe we put up with this. The unions run the whole show and the taxpayers merely exist to provide them with wads of cash.

    That said, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching Northeast socialists torture themselves into insolvency. Please, keep electing Democrats. It’s comedy gold for everyone here in America.

  • Roberts

    We formed communities and established taxes in part to provide for common protection and services necessary for it. Since costs are already covered, which part(fee or tax) is the political kickback? What if one does not have insurance and knows he/she can’t afford a response and therefore does not call. How many will die trying to put out a fire on their own or not call to verify a fire ie. wisps of smoke, gas odors, etc. Why stop there, what is the charge for calling the police? Many places already charge for burglar alarms. What will be the cost for assaults, burglaries, murder(body removal and autopsy extra) or if one wants evidence collection. How much is fee for an arrest and prosecution.

  • royklopfenstein

    The last time I called 911, the operater insisted that Sky Valley, CA and Dillon Rd. did not exist, then that Desert Hot Springs did not exist and finally connected me with the Highway Patrol of a distant county while I watched a house burn down. It took 13 minutes to connect to the local fire department. I do not call 911 anymore. It wastes precious time and accomplishes nothing. I have, instead plugged the relevant numbers into my phone.

  • Allie F.

    I guess this means I don’t have to pay my local taxes anymore!!!! Egad, just how stupid are these people. These services are already paid for.


      That is the answer to en our Enslavement by CORPORATION GOV’T and CITIES, etc.
      The biggest problem is that every mayor that serves for one term when FIRED by the people gets almost full pay for life meanwhile we have to also pay the new mayor.
      Learn how to take Dominion and make your land PRIVATE.

  • ms

    Have you ever been to Passaic? Let it burn down!

  • Robert Moses

    Passaic should simply bill its budget shortfall to New York City. By law, the only purpose of any city is to subsidize its suburbs, so NYC owes big money to every NJ town.

  • DinPA

    The insurance company denied your claim and will be billing you because the fire department used foam, instead of the generic to it, water. Since we as an insurance company know water would have put out the fire eventually too you the policy holder shall be billed for this. Next time please elect to use the generic form of fire fighting foam.

  • graham

    taxes already pay for this, dont let these liars tell you otherwise, and WAIT, now rogue firemen will begin to set fires to up their revenue

  • Wayne Bergen

    I would replace those charges and increase the fine for a false alarm: $10,000 for the first, $20,000 for the second, and so on.

  • Doug

    Double taxation: you have already paid your local taxes. I wouldn’t pay it let them try to sue.

  • Kyle

    “City trying to deal with budget woes…”

    Uhm many fire & police & admin in this town and North Jersey make well over $100k with benefits and lifetime pensions.

  • Mark

    First, let’s stop the idiotic talk about “free market” fire protection services. Even ancient Rome had municipal firemen. Second, depending on a volunteer fire department in a densely populated city like Passaic would be a disaster. What the city would save in fire department salaries, they would need to spend on picking up all the dead bodies.

    The problem is out of control compensation for fire, cops, teachers….all of which are nepotism or crony hires. Firemen work only 3 days a week….they live in the firehouse for days and nights. They have 4 days off. After a few years, they can earn over $100K with Cadillac health benefits, retire with full benefits after only 25 years and receive a millionaires pension. I know a man who recently retired from the Hackensack FD at 48 years of age with a $100K pension and health benefits for life. The only solution is to fire everyone working for these municipalities and start over offering realistic compensation packages.

  • DLP

    If the taxpayers are already paying for the fire departments services, maybe the fire department should pay back those taxpayers who end up not requiring their services. $1,000 if your house did not burn down and $600 if your car did not catch on fire….

    • John Malverne

      I like it! Since your house didn’t burn down, you have performed the duty of the fire department. Therefore the fire department owes you $1,000 for every year your house doesn’t burn down.

      It should come straight out of their pension fund!

  • NeoLotus

    Funding wars and bank bailouts are breaking budgets. The anti-tax folks think they shouldn’t pay for anything and just have everyone be volunteers. They think govt isn’t run efficiently or with oversight and are over paid anyway. But they will think nothing of businesses jacking up their cost or reducing the product amount for the same price. What they don’t know is that inflation affects the cost of govt as much as it affects everyone else.

  • Tim

    Where do they think the Insurance co. will get the money? Responsible homeowners once again will carry the load.

  • CraigS

    It is high time that we stop paying these government officials that caused these financial problems. Notice how they never make any sacrifices.

  • killerbee

    Let me give the Govt run, tax dollar burning NJ town a lesson in CAPITALISM. You say you’ll charge $1000 for a house fire???? I will form my own company and ONLY CHARGE $800 and I will GUARANTEE that I will respond within 10 minutes of notification or there will be NO CHARGE. CAPITALISM 101, COMMIES!!

  • cd

    Can you sue your local government for not supplying services paid for by local taxes, and /or get a tax rebate for services not provided…….

  • blorjr

    Let all public employes take a 10% pay cut and only pay teachers for the 9 months they work. This should be done before stealing from the taxpayers again. Everybody needs to have “skin in the game” according to Biden.

  • wankelus

    “Unethical for insurance company’s to raise rates” Yet it is OK to take taxpayer money provide the service then charge for it. Spoken like someone who has a firm grasp of the concept of “unethical”

  • -Z-

    Sounds like the union political fund has been emptied and they need to replenish it.

  • Tom Genin

    So to make money all the city has to do is START HOUSE FIRES and CAR FIRES then collect on each call!

    Watch when 1 city employee is about to be laid off, the fires will start to make money and save his job.

    Or will the fireman, a decent percentage of which start fires to begin with, start fires so they can afford a new truck?

    Any braniacs in gov’t think through the unintented consequences of this act? Nah, why bother, it alwsys works out fine.

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