FIRE DEPARTMENT: INSTITUTE FEE STRUCTURE
The Department is not fully pursuing revenue generating opportunities.
Develop a revenue plan that identifies areas where a fee schedule of appropriate charges can be applied to certain fire suppression activities.
Estimated Annual Impact:
Estimated Implementation Cost:
Barriers to Implementation:
Community and business concerns about additional fees and charges.
Request technical assistance from Maryland Association Of Counties, Maryland Municipal League, National League of Cities, and National Association of Counties for inventory of service charges for fire departments.
Form a joint advisory committee with representatives from all branches of the Department, Finance Department, and other appropriate City agencies to identify areas for fee consideration (e.g., hazardous materials (HAZMAT) clean-up, specialized training to private sector, fees for repeated false alarms). Identify actual costs associated with each function or service to ensure a fair, reasonable and defendable fees.
There is no overall strategy with a proactive focused attention to generating income with an annual goal.
There are opportunities in establishing a flat fee charge for HAZMAT clean-up for commercial incidents that could result in additional tiered charges based on the time firefighters are involved in an incident. Identifying, developing, and providing specialized training to the private sector for fees per course or attendees (i.e., high rise building, HAZMAT, etc.) could provide additional income.
Based on the number of false alarms (4,107) in 1999, if only 10 percent were considered excessive and were each charged a modest fee of $100, the Department could have collected over $41,000. By keeping focused on commercial false alarms (whose fees may be easier to collect) there could also be a higher fee for repeat false alarms. If half of the 10 percent of false alarms were repeat alarms, the total revenue potential would exceed $60,000.
Encourage ongoing awareness and discussion on revenue generating opportunities. Recognition of the best ideas could be part of the overall strategy.