I read about this in my local paper today which also drew a parallel between paying the fee and paying car insurance.
However, that parallel is, IMO, grossly askew. Here's the difference. Firefighters work to put out fires to PREVENT damage and to save lives. Car insurance (an insurance company) DOES NOT PREVENT anything; instead, it pays for damages after the fact if they are in an accident. The damage someone might suffer by not paying car insurance is in the pocket book and possibly license suspension or jail because of law violation. The damage caused by not fighting a fire, however, is complete loss of home or whatever and loss of life. There is just no comparison to my way of thinking. Further, an insurance company is out for profit for either itself or it's share-holders, not to mention the big fat salaries of the head honchos. A fire department provides a necessary service and is supported by tax payers, grants, or by donations (as in the case of a volunteer fire department). A fire department ain't out for profit. Yes, the man neglected to pay the fee. Put out the fire and let him pay later, assess a late fee if you wish. He'll be much more able to pay the fee if he hasn't lost everything to a fire.
South Fulton Mayor David Crocker told the newspaper that if the city allowed people to pay after the fact there would be no incentive to subscribe.
"Firefighters let home burn - owner didn't pay fee." AP The Herald-Times
Bloomington, Indiana Oct. 7, 2010 Section E page 1 column 5
What's next; not getting ambulance service because a fee hasn't been paid?
I must say, it was rather shocking to me to read that article today after hearing on the radio a day or two ago just that possible scenario as a result of eliminating or greatly reducing taxes. Someone calls 911; sorry can't help. You didn't pay your fee.Possible solution:
Make the fire department be under county authority instead of city authority and have all county tax payers support it.