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Residents May Have to Subscribe For Emergency Services

Under a plan proposed by city staff, the Murrieta Fire Protection District may institute a subscription fee for residents that would offset the cost of services.

Residents May Have to Subscribe For Emergency Services

Residents may have to subscribe for emergency services from the fire department, if a plan to reduce costs and increase reserves is approved.

The Murrieta City Council -- sitting as the Fire District -- is slated Tuesday to consider a plan to institute a subscription program for emergency services.

Those residents who opt out of the plan would have to pay for their emergency services, under a proposal supported by staff.

In addition to the subscription fee, city staff has proposed that the department set aside an ambulance paramedic crew strictly for emergency services, keeping firefighters on engines so that services would not have be cut.

Under this proposal, service response times would also remain intact, according to a staff report on the matter.

Funding for the district comes mainly from property tax revenues but a downturn in the economy and lessening in property values has had a negative impact on the heretofore healthy reserves.

Between 2008-09 and 2010-11 fical years, the MFD had a 24-percent decrease in revenue, the staff report indicates.

A sunset clause in the proposal will allow for reduction in subscription rates by 50 percent, should property taxes return to 2008-09 levels, according to the staff report.

The subscription service would cost $4 per month per household.

Revenue to be generated by the two-pronged approach is estimated at $700,000, according to the staff report.

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