DISCLAIMER

PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE


08-055-O

ORDINANCE NO. __________


AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING CHARGES FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES AND COLLECTION THEREOF ADDING A NEW ARTICLE IV TO CHAPTER 21 OF THE DULUTH CITY CODE, 1959, AS AMENDED.

CITY PROPOSAL:

The city of Duluth does ordain:

     Section 1. That Chapter 21 of the Duluth City Code 1959, as amended, is hereby amended to add a new Article IV which reads as follows:

Article IV. Emergency Services–Charges.

Sec. 21-45.  Service charge imposed.
    
 A charge is hereby imposed for the provision of emergency services by the fire or police department, including but not limited to fire suppression, motor vehicle accident investigation, vehicle extractions and other related services. The amount of said charge shall be established pursuant to Section 31-6(a) of this Code. Such charges shall be payable by the person receiving the services, by the owner of the property benefitted by the provision of the services or by the insurer of the person or property benefits who would be obligated under a contract of insurance with such benefitted person or the owner of benefitted property to pay such charges or to reimburse the benefitted person or owner therefore.

Sec. 21-46.  Collection of charges.

     (a)  Upon receipt of notification from the fire or police department that emergency services referred to in Section 21-45 above had been provided and the name and address of the person benefitted thereby, the owner of benefitted property or an insurer as described in said section, the city auditor shall cause the appropriate party to be charged for said services as provided for in Section 31-6(a). If an insurer as described above is identified, the auditor shall first invoice said insurer for such charges. If such identified insurer establishes that it is not an insurer of the person or property benefited who would be obligated under a contract of insurance with such benefitted person or the owner of benefitted property to pay such charges or to reimburse the benefitted person or owner therefore, or if such insurer shall refuse or fail to pay such charges within 30 days of being invoiced therefore, or if no obligated insurer is identified, the invoice shall be sent to the person receiving the services or to the owner of the property benefitted by the provision of the services;

     (b)  If the charges have not been paid within 30 days of being invoiced to the person receiving the services or to the owner of the property benefitted by the provision of the services or by the representative or estate of such party, a notice of delinquency shall be sent to such party notifying them that said charges are delinquent and requesting immediate payment thereof. If such charges are not thereafter paid within 30 days of the sending of said notice, the city may use any lawful means allowed to a private party for the collection of an unsecured delinquent debt to collect such charges;

     (c)  In addition to the remedies provided for in subsection (b) above, the city council may, by resolution, certify to the county auditor of the county in which the person receiving the services or to the owner of the property benefitted by the provision of the services owns real property, on or before October 15 for each year, any unpaid service charges which shall then be collected together with property taxes levied against the property. The county auditor shall remit to the city all service charges collected by the auditor on behalf of the city. A charge may be certified to the auditor only if, on or before September 15, the city has given written notice to the owner of the property to be assessed of its intention to certify the charge to the auditor. The service charges shall be subject to the same penalties, interest and other conditions provided for the collection of property taxes.

     Section 2.  That this ordinance shall take effect 30 days from its passage and publication.


ADMIN/ATTY


STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: The purpose of this ordinance is allow the city to charge for the cost of providing emergency services by the city’s fire or police department and to provide a mechanism to collect those charges.


By statute the city is entitled to charge persons benefitted by the provision of emergency services such as fire suppression, motor vehicle accident investigation, vehicle extractions and emergency medical services for the costs incurred by the city in providing them but the city has not been authorized by ordinance to do so. This ordinance allows the city to charge for such services in accordance with a fee schedule established by resolution under Section 31-6(a) of the Code.


In many cases it is anticipated that the services will be covered by the benefitted party’s insurance company and the ordinance allows the auditor to directly bill such insurance companies if known. If there is no insurer to pay or if the insurer refuses to pay, the benefitted party would be billed directly.


If the city does not receive payment, the city will be authorized to collect the unpaid charges by normal means from the benefitted party and also to assess the charges against property of the benefitted party.