Peoria Weighs Fire Department Fees

Feb 13, 2019

Credit Peoria Public Radio/Kristin McHugh

The Peoria city council will soon decide if the fire department should charge a fee for certain responses.

There is currently no charge when the fire department handles vehicle accidents and boat fires and tows. Fire chief Ed Olehy says the department wants to bill the at-fault party for those calls.

"Their insurance will be billed. If they are a citizen of Peoria, they will not receive a bill personally at home for that. That portion will be written off. Anybody outside of the city, who again is the at-fault party, they would then be responsible for the entire bill," says Olehy.

Billing would be handled by Fire Recovery USA, which estimates the city could generate $200-thousand in revenue. The fees vary, with a car fire costing $687.00 and vehicle extrication $1,483.00. The fees will not apply to house fires and emergency medical calls.

Second district councilman Chuck Grayeb expressed his opposition because of the lack of information from all affected parties.

"We need to take a look at what the Illinois Insurance Association is saying about what has been done in some of the other communities and how it has not worked and how some communities are backing off on it," says Grayeb.

City manager Patrick Urich says more than a hundred other cities in Illinois charge such fees, including East Peoria and Bloomington.

The council will vote on the proposal February 26.