Boise’s City Council approved a set of “stupid person” fees on behalf of the Fire Department Tuesday night. It must take one to know one.
Here is the price list for “AT FAULT” fees these elected politicos approved.
-Residential false alarm: second $75, three or more, $150 each.
-Commercial false alarm: second $125, three or more, $250 each.
-Arson investigation: $75 per hour
-Fighting illegal fire: $300 per hour
-Dive rescue: $1,000 first three hours, $250 each additional hour.
-Powerline incident: $75 first hour, $300 each additional hour.
-Gas or water pipeline incident: $400 first three hours, $300 each additional hour.
-Major hazmat, such as a meth lab: $2,500 first three hours, $300 each additional hour.
-Minor hazmat, such as a minor fuel spill: $450
-Vehicle fire: $600
EDITOR NOTE–The GUARDIAN has no objection to fees for costly false alarm responses. The editor was even lobbied for the original fee ordinance nearly 40 years ago.
We can see it now. A guy is clinging to a tree branch along the Boise River after flipping his canoe and a good Samaritan shouts,”Don’t worry I called 911.”
“Why did you do that? I have a wife and kids to support. I can’t afford to be rescued! PLEASE call them back and I will wait for the water to get below 6,500 cfs,” screams the drowning man.
While well intended, this is one of those acts on the part of City Council that simply needs some “adult supervision.” The rates are arbitrary and subject to interpretation of some firefighter who decides if the person being rescued or the leaky pipe is due to someone “at fault.”
Collections will be difficult–if not impossible and potentially more costly in legal fees than worthwhile. Someone other than the city will get rich on the collection portion.
If a car catches fire, why charge a guy an additional $600 for his misfortune? Just exactly WHO will be billed $75 an hour for arson investigation? Can a property owner simply dismiss the process saying, “I decided not to have an arson investigation. Thanks anyway.”
The absurdity of this shopping list is limitless. Does Idaho Power have to pay $75 when a tree falls on a wire? Imagine if the stupid person is part of a convention or a CEO thinking about locating his business in Boise–bet he gets off for FREE!
If any of the “AT FAULT” actions are criminal, the prosecutor can simply demand restitution for actual expenses at trial as part of sentencing.
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