monopoly_money.jpgAs an addition to several fee increases proposed in mayor Newsom’s 2010-2011 budget, drivers found to be at fault in an accident could be charged a cleanup fee by the San Francisco Fire Department.

The fee can be as much as $500, and is expected to raise as much as $600,000+ for the city if adopted. This means, most likely, a bill sent to the driver’s insurance company, though depending on the driver’s policy, they may have to pay the fee out-of-pocket. In cases where drivers are covered, however, companies say they are already poised to raise drivers’ rates, in the oft-cited phenomenon of passing the buck.

Other California cities, such as Sacramento and Oakland, are also flirting with the idea as a remedy to their budgetary ills. Some argue that taxpayers – and insurance companies pay taxes too – are in effect being taxed twice, once to pay for their Fire Department and again for their specific cleanup.

The SFFD is also set to increase fees for fire permit inspections and ambulance rides, but these measures are supplemental. In all of these cases, the Board of Supervisors must first approve the plan.

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