Following a protective services update, provided by Coun. Bernd Staeben, at Monday night’s meeting of Corner Brook city council, Coun. Tony Buckle offered up a few statistics of his own.
After going over last year’s stats on the fire department, Buckle was surprised to discover there are almost double the car accidents this year compared to last year at this same time.
Furthermore, he said, in 2012 there were only 65 motor vehicle accidents at this time, compared to 156 now.
The city currently only charges for accidents responded to outside its jurisdiction, but Buckle said after a little research he found some communities in Canada charge regardless of whether the accident occurred within city boundaries.
Coun. Josh Carey requested, if possible, a breakdown for the next public meeting on which accident calls have been billed to insurance companies, and which ones are outstanding and which have been paid.
“We should be recovering our cost,” he said.
Carey was also curious to how far outside the city’s jurisdiction they would respond to calls because there are other fire departments, such as in Steady Brook and Massey Drive, that could also respond, he said.
Buckle also said calls for fires are way up, with over 130 last year winding up as false alarms.
“We should be getting paid or something should be done to stop this,” he said. “It’s costing taxpayers’ money.”
Coun. Linda Chaisson said the fire department wouldn’t know if it was a false alarm or not until they arrived on the scene. Mayor Jim Parsons said the issue would never be not to respond, but perhaps charging a fee in the event of a false alarm.
Buckle said there are communities in Canada that bill for actual house fires as well, as most insurance companies have a policy built in that would pay up to a certain amount.
He said, considering the city spends $5.4M on protective services, it was certainly something to look into.
Coun. Staeben said the protective services committee meets next week and they would discuss the matter then.