San Miguel Fire District To Charge For Being In Car Crash?

Residents Living Outside District Would Be Charged Fee

An area of San Diego County is considering charging a fee for being involved in a car accident, 10News reported.

The new proposal from the San Miguel Fire District would charge those living outside the district a fee for their involvement in a car crash.

"You would be charged if you were the cause of a traffic accident or are required our services for a rescue, based on the actual cost for services," said San Miguel Fire District Chief August Ghio.

The fees range from $390 to more than $2,000. If there is a car fire or gasoline is spilled, the charge could be $570. If a helicopter is needed, $2,100 may be charged.

"They are our guests and they come to visit family and friends … it doesn't make sense to me," said Arkan Sahib, a resident within the district.

Rincon doesn't live within the district and he supports the idea even though he could possibly be charged a fee.

"Sounds pretty good right there to me because you always need firefighters and if your house is burning and they're short ... What can I say?" said Rincon.

The district covers a 47-square mile area in the eastern portion of the county, and with a $2.6 million shortfall the fire district said it is necessary.

"We are faced with really catastrophic budget cycles right now," said Ghio.

Ghio said they need more revenue to continue to provide the same service.

"All of our firefighters took a 9 percent reduction in pay because they're paying their own retirement now where they didn't in the past. We had to let go of an engine company. We de-staffed a nine-person engine company to manage," said Ghio.

He said they don't like charging for services, but if it's not approved they'll have to make more cuts.

The San Miguel Fire Board will vote on the fee proposal on Jan. 14.

If approved, the fees would be implemented in about two months.