Council to vote on fire department fees
by Emily McLain
Jan 08, 2014 | 537 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Sylacauga City Council will vote on a fee schedule for certain Fire Department resources at its meeting today.

Fire Chief Matt Missildine previously presented the council a proposed fee list for Fire Department resources to be charged to city businesses and industries in the event of a response to a hazmat incident or a fire event that requires a response lasting more than four hours. If approved, the fees will not apply to single-family residences; however, apartments, duplexes and other multi-family units are considered commercial.

The council discussed the proposal at a work session Monday night.

“We’re not looking to ever levy a fee on a house,” Missildine told the council. “This is basically the city protecting itself in case we have that exceptional call where we’re going to generate exceptional costs compared to other calls. That’s what you need to be comfortable with, if we’re going to apply this.”

The fees cover personnel, vehicles and equipment and were generated based on pricing from hazmat cleanup companies, Missildine said. A fire engine, for example, is $150 an hour, an aerial device is $250, a hazmat technician firefighter is $40 and all other firefighters are $35.

“We’re going to charge any time there’s a hazmat incident, and there’s a federal definition of that, and then we will charge for a fire department response, which is anything other than hazmat, after four hours,” Missildine said. “In principle, what we’re saying to businesses in the city is you’re tax dollars are buying you the first four hours of a call, and 99.9% of our calls are handled within four hours.”

This ordinance, if approved, will only apply to businesses and industries within city limits. Missildine hopes to eventually secure response contracts with industries outside city limits that wish to utilize the fire department’s services.

Also at Monday’s work session, the council discussed:

• Adopting a fee schedule for services offered by the City Clerk’s office. The fees were generated based on those used by the public library and Parks and Recreation, City Clerk Patricia Carden said.

• An amendment to a 2013 fire department grant to allow the purchase of more equipment with remaining grant money.

• An easement at a business on East Second Street to add a handicap ramp.

• Moving forward with an estimated $2,500 survey of the municipal airport in advance of an FAA inspection. The city paid $7,200 to have obstructions cleared from around the airport prior to the survey, Mayor Doug Murphree said.

• Sidewalk repairs estimated at $1,200 on South Norton Avenue where tree roots have busted the sidewalk.

• Revisions to the garbage ordinance.

• The need for striping down Ft. Williams Street and other roads where it is difficult to see at night.

The council meets at 9 a.m. at City Hall.

Contact Emily McLain at eadams@dailyhome.com.