CHARLOTTE, Mich. — The city of Charlotte plans to start billing people for certain police and fire services.
"Will be billing for things such as fires, vehicle fires, structure fires, accidents, extractions, rescues of that nature," said Mayor Michael Armitage. "Those types of things. Those bigger calls that use a lot of resources."
Armitage said a previous ordinance was restrictive and was used if someone was driving under the influence in the city and was arrested. They would be billed for the fees that the city incurred to process the case.
An update to the ordinance approved by the City Council on Monday will now allow the city to start billing people for more police and fire services.
Armitage said it could save the city $30,000 to 40,000 a year.
"Something that other communities do. And for us, we have a very dire financial situation even with as you know we're looking at a special assessment for public safety, for fire services," Armitage said. "Even with that, by the end of July, we're going to have zero money in the bank."
The cost will depend on what resources are used. For those concerned about the fees, Armitage said, most are covered under insurance.
"If you do have a catastrophic event, you would just submit the bill to your insurance for reimbursement or payment. And we did put a provision in there too that allows for an appeal process if this was going to cause unjust harm," he said.
Armitage said he doesn't want anyone to be afraid to call 911.
"If there is an emergency, call 911. And as I said, it's not every call that's going to be billed," said Armitage. "It's some of these major calls that require more resources."
The next step is for the city council to consider a resolution to put caps in place for the charges. They anticipate doing that at the first meeting in June.
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