Huntington Beach ordinance would charge out-of-town drivers for emergency services

Huntington Beach may reconsider a controversial ordinance that would charge out-of-town drivers for emergency services if they cause an accident.

The L.A. Times reports Councilman Don Hansen wants the council to re-think the emergency-response fees portion of the ordinance, after he said he received "significant commentary and heartburn."

The ordinance sticks nonresidents with the bill for emergency services for car crashes, fires or vehicle extractions, and is estimated to generate as much as $100,000 in annual revenue. The ordinance also gives the city the power to be reimbursed for emergency costs by companies for any pipeline and power line incidents.

But Hansen said he is not asking to reconsider that portion. The ordinance, originally approved on Aug. 16, has generated opposition, some of it from businesses concerned that out-of-towners will stay away.

The fees would not apply to residents, but to the more than 16 million people who descend on Huntington Beach annually. Residents are exempt because they pay property taxes.

If the emergency fees portion of the ordinance is repealed, it would impact the budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year that has to be approved by Sept. 20.

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