PUTNEY, Vt. (AP) - Motorists involved in traffic accidents on
Interstate 91 are going to have to pay the costs of emergency
services if the mishaps happen in Putney.
The town passed an ordinance requiring motorists to pay because
of the growing cost of responding to problems on the highway.
On an icy weekend last April the town's fire and rescue
volunteers responded to 16 traffic accidents in a single 48-hour
"And those ranged from simple slide offs to - we actually had
half a dozen major accidents in that one two-day time frame," said
Tom Goddard, Putney fire chief.
His 36-member volunteer squad provides emergency services for
nine and a half miles of I-91.
The highway sees more traffic every year. Goddard said accidents
are not only on the rise. They're becoming more complicated, like
the one that smashed more than 100 liquid propane cylinders on the
road a few summers ago. The ever-present possibility of an accident
involving hazardous materials requires lots of costly training and
Town officials say about $500,000 worth of equipment goes out on
every call. That's a lot for a town of 2,600 residents to support.
Goddard said false alarms and incidents involving negligence are
"And collectively we all thought that it's not right to expect
the taxpayers to, year after year, keep footing the bill for
negligence, and keep footing the bill for services that we're
mandated to provide - that are actually costing the town a
considerable amount of money," he said.
As of Aug. 23, motorists and others involved in incidents
requiring the department's response will be billed for the town's
Town officials say those bills might range from a few hundred
dollars to a couple thousand dollars.
Costs will be divided equally among those involved. Putney
residents will be exempt unless the incident involves negligence or
mischief on their part.
Karen Horne of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns said the
ordinance probably would hold up in court.
"We think that also there will be legislation in the next year
or so that will make it very clear that this is the kind of thing a
town can do," she said. "Because it makes sense when you really
look at all the services that are generally supported by the
property tax. Your choice is at some point to stop cutting services
or find other ways to pay for them."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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07-16-2003, 12:47 AM #1
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11-21-2006, 11:47 PM #2
So? The department next town over from us is doing the same thing. It is a great idea, but, it is only under certain circumstances. If they go to the same place for a fire alarm, if none of them are an actual emergency, three times, if the car accident was your fault, if you were burning illegally, and if there is a public assist.
11-22-2006, 10:17 AM #3Town officials say about $500,000 worth of equipment goes out on"This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
11-23-2006, 12:02 AM #4
A guess is that they will have a set schedule of fees.
$XX per truck, per hour
$XX per firefighter, per hour
$XX per officer, per hour
That would probably be on top of a flat fee per incident. EMS charges something like this, with a flat fee plus a fee for whatever services are rendered."The uniform you wear was given to you. The respect that comes with it must be earned."
11-23-2006, 10:11 AM #5
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In northern VT, my former department had a fee system in place for haz-mat incidents. We used the town's DPW wage figure of $10 per hour per man, and charged $200 per hour for an engine or the neighboring district's rescue, $300 for an aerial and $100 for all other vehicles. The neighboring district';s haz-mat team would piggy-back onto our fees and then we would split it.
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