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Durham Fire Marshal Proposes Fee Ordinance

William Witecki says inspections would no longer be performed for free if the ordinance is approved by voters.

 

Durham officials are proposing an ordinance that would establish fees for inspections by the fire marshal's office.

William Witecki, the town's fire marshal, said the fees would more fairly place the burden of the cost of his department on businesses or organizations that require inspections. 

"Taxpayers are all paying for them now, because they're paying for our budget," Witecki said at a July 9 public hearing on the proposed ordinance. "This would help cover our costs."

The proposed permits — which number about 50 — and their fees were drafted by comparing fire marshal's office fees in Somers, Stratford and Wilton, Witecki said.

The fees required by the proposed ordinance include a $50 fee for daycare inspections and a $50 fee for inspection of bleachers or grandstands. The new fees would also have an impact on the town's largest event — the Durham Fair. 

Vendors requiring an inspection at a concession stand would be required to pay $10. Under the proposal, non-profit groups would only be required to pay 50 percent of any fee.

"It's not even the cost of a sandwich," said Witecki, whose department spends hundreds of hours inspecting the fairgrounds before and during the fair.

"It's probably equal to what we do for the rest of the town over the course of the year," he said.

A second ordinance proposed by Witecki would give the town of Durham the ability to establish fire lanes in the town and would allow authorities to enforce the restricted areas.

Currently, fire lanes that exist at the town's schools are not enforceable except in the case of an emergency, said Witecki.

"I think it's high time this ordinance be passed," said selectman Steve Levy, who previously served as the town's fire chief and cited experience with vehicles parked in the fire lanes at schools.

"This will help the fire department do its job," Levy said.

The proposed ordinance will require the approval of voters at a town meeting which has yet to be scheduled.

Jim in Durham July 24, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Exactly who does the fire marshal/volunteer fire department work for, the fire department or the taxpayers ? If he/they needs a larger budget,ask for it like any town agency . If he wants to charge for every inspection then we can reduce the money he gets from the town budget, On regards to Stevie Levy,who citied vehicles parked in the fire lanes at schools, did it stop you from responding to the alarm ? The taxpayers are not a bottomless pit of revenue . There is a limit and we are fast approaching it .
One Know Knows August 29, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Well Jim, The fire marshal is usually appointed by the town not the fire department. With regard to the fire lanes, people's laziness is the thing that contributes to blocking of vital parts to buildings and without an ordinance there it makes it hard to respond to. I think you need to educate yourself as to what exactly the fire marshal does and maybe yo uwill have a better appreciation for him.

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