Attleboro considering "crash tax" - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Attleboro considering "crash tax"

Attleboro considering "crash tax"

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By: Melissa Randall

Getting into a car accident in Attleboro could soon cost you more. The city is looking into adding a new fee where the fire department would charge the driver responsible for accident for the cost to clean it up. It's all in an effort to come up with the nearly 500–thousand dollars needed to pay for 10 new firefighters.

"We have to try to maintain a level of staffing within the NFPA [National Fire Protection Association] standards," said Walter Thibodeau, City Councilor for Ward 1.

Thibodeau says the fee wouldn't come directly out of pocket. Instead it would be charged to the drivers insurance. The so–called "crash tax" could range anywhere from $400 to $2200.

"We're trying to look at what's already out there rather than to go across the board and increase everyone's real–estate taxes," said Thibodeau.

The proposed fee wouldn't be tacked on to all crashes. A minor fender bender likely wouldn't result in any materials– such as hazardous liquids– leaking, so there would be no claim. Still some residents feel any additional fee would be a double tax.

"Where are the taxes going now if they ain't going to pay for the other stuff that we're supposed to pay for in the first place?" said Attleboro resident Walter Howe.

Others are concerned that their car insurance would go up as a direct result.

"It would really hurt because I’m a single parent– raising two kids," said Attleboro driver Ramona Carothers.

The city estimates that the "crash tax" and a hazardous materials tax would raise about a third of the money the fire department needs to reorganize.

 The proposal goes before the Attleboro City Council within the next few weeks.

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