The "crash tax" lives.
The Sacramento City Council's law and legislation committee agreed late this afternoon to forward to the full council a proposal to charge out-of-town motorists who have wrecks inside the city limits.
The Bee editorial board has come out against the idea. It could gouge unfortunate drivers and make Sacramento an unwelcome place for visitors.
But the council committee called it a cost recovery vehicle for the fire department, though some council members had questions about how it would be implemented. The full council is expected to take up the issue in early August, said Interim Assistant City Manager Patti Bisharat.
The fees would be on a sliding scale, based on the type of services provided and the cost of personnel and equipment at the scene.
Any time the fire department shows up, the charge would be $435. If oil or radiator fluid is cleaned up, it would another $60. If there's a vehicle fire, it would be $680 total. If firefighters have to use the "jaws of lie" to get people out, the charge would be $1,875 total. And if a helicopter is called in to transport someone injured, it would be $2,275.
The city hopes to reap about $1 million a year.