Kentucky fire department collecting fees for protecting citizens www.privateofficer.com
LYNDON, KY Nov 14 2011 Say your house catches fire…or you’re in a car accident. If you’re in Lyndon, that could cost you. Lyndon Fire and Rescue has been charging to respond to things like structure fires and motor vehicle accidents. What it boils down to, according to a Lyndon Fire and Rescue spokesman. is that the department needs more money. The department is stepping up efforts to collect fees as part of its cost recovery program.
“Well, fees, depending on what the nature of the fire is, or the nature of the fee that we’re trying to recover, it can vary anywhere to a couple hundred dollars to maybe $300, $400 or $500,” Said Captain Rich Bliven, Public Information Officer for Lyndon Fire and Rescue.
It isn’t just structure fire responses that could cost up to $500.
“Motor vehicle accidents where there’s a hazardous material clean up, where vehicles leak fluids or something of that nature,” Said Bliven. “Or where additional medical care would be required.”
Robert Shoemaker has lived in Lyndon about 30 years. He was unaware of the fees.
“Well, it doesn’t make me feel very good, simply because I pay taxes already, to Lyndon, just for that purpose,” Said Shoemaker as he sat on his riding lawn mower. “To have the house burn down, plus pay an additional $300-$500, that wouldn’t go over very well.”
Shoemaker thought of an alternative to the fees.
“Well, I think maybe they need to increase the tax, somewhat. That’s the best way. Have everybody pay the same amount,” Said Shoemaker.
Lyndon Fire and Rescue began a cost recovery program months ago because of a need for more money, in addition to property tax dollars received.
“Well, we need to increase our revenue, and this is a way to do that,” Said Bliven. “We want to stress that we’re not going to send anybody a bill in the mail, individually, unless, like I said, we’re not able to collect their insurance information. The insurance companies are paying the fees.”
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Said Lyndon Resident Agustin Rosa. “I mean, you know, it’s a service that I think we all need. If that’s the case, somebody’s got to incur it. So, what are you going to do?”
“If anybody out there is upset about what’s going on, we encourage them to call,” Said Bliven. “We also encourage them to contact their politicians and let them know that they need to support their fire districts. They need to look at raising the fire protection tax cap so that we can gain more revenue and do the things that we need to do.”
Captain Bliven said the fees that the department are recovering also include permits, inspections of businesses and occupancy permits. Bliven said the department recently received $80,000 from a property tax mis-calculation. Part of it’ll go toward things like building maintenance, keeping station 2, on Westport Road open, and other things that were cut from the budget. Though he said the department is grateful for the additional money, there is still a financial need and the cost recovery will continue.