Tri States Public Radio Staff
Mon February 27, 2012
Carthage Fire Fees Might Go Up
Carthage might have to raise what it charges for fire calls outside the city limits.
Fire Chief Gary Smith said the department doesn't cover a fire district. It is a city department that provides a service within a designated area. Since people in the area don't pay a tax for fire protection, they get a bill when the fire department responds to a call.
He said, ”With the rising fuel costs, diesel costs a lot. Equipment costs a lot. We take around a half-million dollars worth of equipment and between that and the fuel cost we can spend more than we bring in.”
Smith said a fire truck can use $300 in diesel fuel alone on a typical call.
The department charges $450 for the first hour on a call. It charges $400 for each additional hour.
He said the goal is not to make a profit. He would like the department to break even on calls.
The city also has to stand the cost when it can't collect on 10% to 15% of fire calls outside the city.
Carthage will consider the changes as it prepares its next budget.