City Mulls Charging for Calls

By Katia Lopez-Hodoyan and Mari Payton
|  Tuesday, Jun 15, 2010  |  Updated 10:15 PM PDT
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City Mulls Charging for Calls

Oct. 9, 2008

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City Mulls Charging for Calls

If you cause a car accident in Chula Vista, you could soon face a hefty bill.
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If you cause a car accident in Chula Vista, you could soon face a hefty bill.

The fire department cleans up anaccident's aftermath, which often includes hazardous materials.  Currently, the city pays the costs for the cleanup, but city officials are mulling getting whoever is responsible for the crash to foot the bill.

While the city is facing a financial crisis, some critics of the proposal are arguing that the proposal is not the city's answer to balancing its budget..

"We just feel that it's a form of double taxation and people shouldn't be charged for being in an accident when their tax dollars already cover those services," said Chris Cate of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

Instead, Cate said, the city should focus on improving how it manages its budge rather than contemplate adding fees.
   
If the plan is approved, whoever causes an accident could have to pay a fee ranging from  $400-$2,100. That amount would cover the costs of cleaning up of oil, gasoline and or antifreeze that's usually left over after an accident. If the proposal is passed, a company hired by the city would then bill the driver's insurance company for the cleanup costs.
   
Last year, the Chula Vista Fire Department responded to about 400 such accidents. With the economy, the fire chief said, the city simply can't afford to pay for the cleanups anymore. He also said that whoever caused an accident should pay for the cleanup.

"So if somebody is running a red light or if they run a stop sign and they crash into another car, that isn't the general taxpayers responsibility," Chief Dave Hanneman said. "It should be the individual."
 

The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to put the vote off for 30 days while officials check with the insurance industry on whether auto insurance rates would go up in Chula Vista as a result of the ordinance.

 

This was the second time they have delayed their decision.

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