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Peoria looks for ways to boost fire department's budget amid cuts

When you travel out of town, you know that you'll have a risk of being involved in a crash while away from home. If someone comes into Peoria and causes a crash, then they could be held to higher standards than residents, according to news about a potential new ordinance.

The Peoria City Council plans to review an ordinance that would charge travelers who are not Peoria residents for services provided by the fire department when it comes to the scene of a crash. The city's goal is to raise $200,000 with these fees, which would help support the fire department while it faces budget cuts.

The new ordinance will potentially offset the loss of funds in the new 2019 budget. With the new budget for 2019, the fire department lost 18 firefighting positions and two rescue squads.

Why charge people who come in from out of town? It's not as unusual as you may think. Fire departments from the "Big Seven" cities outside Chicago already do this to help offset the costs associated with running fire departments. This billing design is used in over 1,000 cities across the United States, and it's hoped that the same kind of billing could help support the fire and rescue squads in Peoria.

There are 12 states that ban billing for accident services, but since Illinois is not one, this could be a bill that those coming into the town could face if they cause collisions. It's one more way to support the aid that local firefighters provide to all victims in collisions.

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