There is more fallout from a proposed accident service fee in the St. Andrews Public Service District. City of North Charleston officials are threatening to end a mutual aid agreement with St. Andrews if the proposed fee moves forward.
“To try to come up with something like this is a low approach of the St. Andrews Public Service District,” North Charleston councilman Todd Olds said in a Thursday meeting.
“Our people are not going to be billed for a public service because they are in an accident,” North Charleston mayor Keith Summey added.
The fee, which some within the community call a “crash tax”, is a service fee that would be presented to the insurance company of an at-fault driver who is aided by St. Andrews. Resident who live within the St. Andrews district are exempt from the fee. But the fee would be presented to the insurance company of any non-resident who is at-fault in a traffic accident in the St. Andrews Service District, the James Island Public Service District, the City of Charleston, the City of North Charleston or the St. Johns Fire District.
North Charleston leaders are now fighting back with the idea of ending their mutual aid accident agreement.
“Because if we’re not going to charge our people, we don’t want an outside agency to come in and do it,” Summey said.
“You don’t take advantage of people when issues happen. Nobody wants to get in a wreck. Nobody wants to get hurt,” Summey said.
“I don’t believe that we are taking advantage of people. Anybody, any services being provided to them we willingly do and we are just looking at an option that is viable to us… to recoup some funds,” St. Andrews Fire chief Mark Schrade said.
Some question what would happen with accident response times for both areas if mutual aid ended.
“It will affect everybody’s by not being able to respond with the closest unit available,” Schrade said.
Summey says that he would like to continue aid for fire responses. It’s the traffic accident aid that the city would end.
Schrade believes the city has misconstrued the information and looks forward to working with them to explain the proposed fee.