Passaic Mayor backpedals on plan to charge for fire dept. services

PASSAIC - Public outcry over the City of Passaic's idea to charge for first responder services is causing Passaic Mayor Dr. Alex Blanco to backpedal. In an effort to offset the cost of emergency equipment and manpower, the mayor was floating the idea of charging people who use the fire department.

Critics called the plan double taxation. Blanco met with residents tonight to discuss the controversial fee.

The original proposal would have imposed a fee on the owners of commercial and apartment buildings. Under the revised plan, the city would only charge for fire department responses to hazardous materials spills and car accidents.

Blanco says his new plan would only go after insurance money and would not force people to pay out of their own pockets. The Passaic City Council is meeting tonight to discuss the idea. They plan to hold public hearings before taking a final vote.

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