In an attempt to raise revenue, the FDNY proposed a plan to charge fees for motorists involved in accidents. Council Member Elizabeth Crowley fought against the plan and delivered the following testimony on January 14, 2011 at a FDNY public hearing about the rule chage:
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule which would impose a schedule of charges for Fire Department motorist services, which is before you for consideration at today’s hearing.
In the City Council, I Chair the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, which oversees the New York City Fire Department. Our first responders not only fight fires and save lives, but also respond to the needs of motorists on the city’s roadway accidents.
One of government’s most important responsibilities is to keep people safe—that is why we allocate taxpayer money to our emergency services. To raise revenue by charging New Yorkers deemed to be at fault in auto accidents is unreasonable, misguided and a simple case of double-dipping. New Yorkers already pay for this service by means of taxes on their income and property. The FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano considers these charges as a “fee” for service but let’s call this “fee” for what it really is: a double tax.
If the FDNY starts charging for emergency response to motorist accidents, what will they charge for next? Will there be fees for putting out house fires? We cannot begin to go down this dangerous road; therefore, I respectfully request that you withdraw this proposal from consideration.