The Oskaloosa City Council has approved user fees for the city’s fire department. The Council voted 6-0 to approve the fees for house fires, commercial fires, grass fires and vehicle fires at Monday’s (10/7) City Council meeting. Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff says it costs his department $927 when they go out to a house fire and a user fee would help cover that cost.
“It does cost us money when we go out and fight fires. So what we’re trying to do with that user fee is recoup a little bit of the cost that is incurred when we fight those fires.”
The user fee for a house fire would be up to $500. Neff draws this analogy about the user fee.
“They go to the swimming pool, the tax dollars pay for the swimming pool to keep it open, to keep it staffed, to keep it clean and sanitary. But the users pay a fee for that (swimming).”
Neff also points out that many homeowner’s insurance policies allow for a user fee. The Oskaloosa City Council also voted 3-3 on a recommendation to charge user fees for inspections that the Fire Department performs for assisted living, licensed daycare and other health care facilities. The Council will vote on that issue again. Councilman Steve Burnett was absent from Monday’s meeting.