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Passaic, N.J. Considers Charging For Emergency Calls

How Does $1,000 For House Fires And $600 For Car Fires Grab You?
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Flames (file / credit: Woohae Cho/Getty Images)

Flames – File / Photo: Woohae Cho/Getty Images

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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!

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