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Visitors: Cash for crash
Fee applies to non-residents, DUI mishaps
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Out-of-town motorists or those under the influence who cause an accident like this one could get a bill as high as $2,100 from the City of Manteca for the cost of Manteca fire services. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Out-of-town motorists who get into accidents in Manteca may soon pay as much as $2,100 depending upon the severity of the crash and the response required from the Manteca Fire Department.

Those who cause accidents while under the influence can also expect to get a bill from the City of Manteca.

It is part of an effort to erase the general fund budget deficit by adopting cost recovery fees.

There were over 400 vehicle accidents in Manteca last year of which more than half involved non-residents due to Highway 120 and Highway 99 passing through Manteca. There were also 38 accidents involving drivers who were under the influence.

The City Council Tuesday will consider adopting cost recovery policies for accidents plus retain Fire Recovery USA to handle the billing and collection of fees. The move, based on 2008 accidents, will bring $47,000 annually into the general fund.

“The concept of seeking cost recovery from non-residents involved in vehicle accidents is based primarily on the fact that Manteca residents, through their property taxes, already pay for police and fire services, whereas non-residents do not,” noted Interim Fire Chief Kirk Waters in a memo to the City Council. “Thus, the residents are receiving services for which they’ve already paid.”

The $47,000 was already factored into over $7 million in reduces expenses or cost recovery revenue. The city still has a $2.5 million deficit to bridge for this year.

There are five possible levels of charges for out-of-town motorists involved in accidents or for those driving under the influence. They are:

•$435 for scene safety and investigation such as the cost of traffic control, patient contact, and hazard control. It also includes mitigation of automotive fluids.

•$495 for everything in the initial level plus more if the department has to clean up and dispose of any gasoline or automotive fluids spilled as the result of the accident.

•$605 for all the previous plus the added condition of the vehicle catching on fire to cover the cost of materials used to extinguish it.

•$1,800 for the first two levels plus extrication should anyone be trapped in a vehicle and needs to be removed. It will not apply if the person is simply unconscious and firefighters are able to open the door. The up charge only comes into play if equipment is deployed.

•$2,100 includes other work plus clearing a landing space if needed for a medical helicopter.

In most cases, insurance companies pick up costs for those motorists who are insured.

A number of other cities already have such charges in place for out-of-town motorists involved in accidents.