COMMERCE, OK.--- "I'm just trying to provide a better service," states Al Cervantes, Commerce Fire Chief.
Commerce Fire Chief, Al Cervantes, wants a better fire department for the community. He says providing quality protection isn't cheap.
"Even in volunteer ranks, the requirements for training and the requirements for equipment we need to have costs money," states Cervantes.
He and the city created a rule where those who are protected by the Commerce Fire Department, but don't live within city limits, must pay up.
"There will a charge for our fire services now of $75 a year," says Cervantes.
That fee will cover up to 3 fire runs.
"We feel, if you have more than 3 responses to your property in a year's time, then we'll probably need to bill you on top of that," states Cervantes.
If resident's don't sign up for the yearly fee, they will be required to pay each time firefighters respond to their property.
"You will receive a bill from the Commerce Fire Department," states Cervantes.
That bill could cost hundreds of dollars. Chief Cervantes says firefighters respond to about 100 fire call outside city limits per year. All the money collected from the new fee will be used to offset costs and pay for firefighter training. Chief Cervantes adds, residents will only be charged for fire calls, not medical calls. This subscription ordinance will take effect next month.
Chief Cervantes will mail out a letter to all residents affected by the change. It will outline how the fee works. KODE spoke to a number of people affected by the change, for the most part, residents say they don't mind paying their fair share, but others said they live on a fixed income, and the fee is an unnecessary hardship.