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Harbison…was recently involved in an unremarkable three-car accident in Radnor Township (PA). He says he wasn't at fault. No injuries and damage to his car was minimal. But Harbison was billed $333.20 by Cost Recovery.
    Along with the invoice came a copy of an ordinance passed by Radnor in April. It authorized authorities to collect fees from the insurance carriers of those involved in accidents in the township requiring a police response. But only from those parties who don't live in Radnor.
    It's the ultimate "homer" ordinance. Squeeze the non-residents, not the voters to whom the commissioners are accountable.
Philadelphia News, February 8, 2007

What are accident response fees?

Accident response fees are funding mechanisms that provide additional revenue to communities without raising property or personal income taxes.  Examples of long-standing municipal fees include: Building and licensing fees, and administrative fees for sewer, water and/or trash collection.  The user of the service typically pays the fee.

Newer forms of municipal fees have been introduced and are cause for consumer concern.  These are fees that most residents may not know about since they are usually billed to your auto insurance company.  These fees are for police and fire runs to accident scenes–services that you, as a resident, already pay for through property and local income taxes. Nonresidents may also be subsidizing these city services through income taxes.

Municipalities that charge for these services are basically asking responsible citizens who carry auto insurance to help pay for budget deficits or provide your community with additional revenue streams without your knowledge or input.  Simply put, this is a backdoor tax.  It is non-voted and selectively assessed.

In return for paying local taxes, you expect certain levels of police and fire protection.  At the scene of a crash, their main responsibility is your safety.  But now this might cost you extra.

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