Some say nothing in life comes free and that saying also applies to fire services. The citizens of Springfield are facing a fee hike for this very service and they are speaking out.
The Fire Assessment Fee has caused a stir within Springfield and officials are reassuring the community about the necessity of this new bill.
The Springfield fire department added six new members and according to Fire Chief Michael Laramore this fee really benefits the city, "If we didn't have the six firefighters come in, the citizens of Springfield would have to pay a higher premium on their insurance. That's something we don't need to do as officials of the city." In order to meet requirements placed on the department by the ISO, the city welcomed the new first responders but safety has a price. City Clerk, Lee Penton, explains the fee breakdown, "By the time you pay their insurance their workers comp, all their fees and retirement." Laramore explains, "This fee goes strictly for firefighter equipment, fire fighter salary, the fire department. It's not allocated towards any other function in the city." Each first responder averages the city eighty thousand dollars. The annual fire assessment fee varies in amount based on ones property will be assessed. As inconvenient as the charge may be, officials believe this fee was the best option for the people of Springfield's finances. Penton explains, "You wouldn't have been able to get home owners insurance in the city of Springfield." With financial backing the fire department will continue to serve Springfield proudly and Laramore is excited for the departments future, "We all signed up to do this job because we care about the citizens, that's what we are here for. We are sympathetic that they have to pay a little extra for better service but they are guaranteed to be getting a better service. I thought that we couldn't be giving a better service before but now we guarantee the best!"
The fee is due September 1st and any home owners in the city unable to pay for the service can arrange to meet with the commission to set up a payment plan.