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Car accident victims could be charged for fire rescue response in parts of Dorchester County

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Motorists involved in crashes in certain parts of Dorchester County may soon have to pay a fee, based on the emergency response.

Dorchester County Council passed the second reading of an amendment Monday evening that would impose a fee on non-residents involved in car crashes in which Dorchester County Fire Rescue personnel is dispatched.  The fee would only be assessed to non-residents involved in crashes in unincorporated areas of Dorchester County.

Incidents will be billed in hourly increments, and rounded up to the nearest hour.  For example, heavy apparatus, including engines and rescues, will cost $305 per hour.  Extrication, with the use of hydraulic tools, will cost $2,015.  Landing zone command and control will cost $900.  A replacement fee for consumable materials, like fire suppression foam, will also be charged.

The item will have a 3rd reading, and a public hearing, at the next County Council meeting on July 20th.

In addition, County Council also passed a 1st reading of an ordinance to authorize additional expenditures in the county general fund and county capital fund in order to hire and equip additional Sheriff’s Office personnel to serve as school resource officers.

Last week, the Dorchester District 2 School Board voted to approach County Council with a 1 mill tax increase proposal, which would generate more than $400,000 to fund deputies as school resource officers.

The ordinance will have a 2nd reading at the next County Council meeting on July 20th.  A 3rd reading and public hearing is scheduled during a special meeting on July 27th at 9am.

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