City in Iowa Rejects Plan to Bill Insurers for Emergency Response

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Waterloo (Iowa) Fire Rescue’s proposal to bill insurance companies for its emergency response costs has been rejected.

City council members have voted 5-2 against the plan that would seek payments for the city’s manpower and equipment costs when responding to car accidents, fires and other emergency calls, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.
Council member Bruce Jacobs said the plan was “not just politically acceptable at the moment.” He was joined by Sharon Juon, Steve Schmitt, Jerome Amos Jr and Margaret Klein to reject the measure.

“I thought it was a good source of income to reduce our budget for public security,” Jacobs said. “But after talking to many people in the ward, one was not in his favor.”

The Department’s offer would not have directly invoiced victims, and the insurers would not pay if they did not.

However, some residents are still paying taxes on public safety services, stating that they had objected to the plan before the deadline.

Built Todd Obadal called the plan “a back door book tax” aimed at lowering the real estate tax rate without actually lowering the cost.

Fire Chief Pat Treloar says more than 900 cities in more than 40 states benefit from fire rescue costs. He told insurance experts that 50 per cent of insurance policies had some coverage for fire rescue intervention.

“I thought we had the support to go through the initiative, but I was wrong,” Treloar said. “I respect the council’s decision.”

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