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Fire call fee charged in Perham city under new ordinance

Fire response fees will be charged to property and building owners within Perham city limits, under a new ordinance.

A fire response fee of $500 for the first hour will be assessed under the ordinance, which was discussed at the March 24 Perham City Council committee meeting. After the first hour, the fee will be $250 an hour.

The fee would also apply to anyone who receives fire service as a result of a motor vehicle accident or fire.

"This would help protect the city if we spent several days on a large industrial fire," said Fire Chief Mark Schmidt, at the March 24 meeting.

The train accident which occurred several years ago is an example, noted Fred Lemkuhl, Perham emergency services director, who was in the audience at the meeting. The city submitted a $40,000 bill for the extensive emergency services needed after the accident-but only collected about $24,000 because there was no ordinance in place, said Lemkuhl.

Fees of this kind have been charged to outlying townships and cities, but the fee has never been extended to those properties in city limits.

Homeowners would not be affected by the new fee, because in most cases, insurance would cover the fire service costs, noted Schmidt.

The fees collected will be used specifically to offset the expenses of providing fire service.

Other fees related to the new ordinance include:

-$300 for the first hour for rescue calls; $100 an hour after the initial fee.

-$300 for false alarms the department mobilizes for.

-$450 for a response out of the area.

-The department is also instituting a $25 fee for rental of the fire hall meeting room.