Accident fees dry up

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City can no longer collect from victims

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

The Legislature has banned cities and counties from seeking reimbursement from insurance companies and motorists for handling vehicle accidents, which money will be a bit tight for Chiefland Police Department equipment.

“We had a good run with it,” said Mayor Teal Pomeroy. “But it looks like the out-of-state companies which administer the program were beaten by the out-of-state insurance companies.”

The commission in its Monday evening meeting complied with the new state law banning such collections and approved on first reading an ordinance repealing the $200 charge.

Police Chief Robert Douglas said the money collected from the reports has been used to retrofit the city’s 10 marked cars with new paint at $1,000 per vehicle, and interior light bars that have made the vehicles lighter, more fuel efficient and place less stress on the vehicle’s electrical systems. The lights cost about $500-$600 per vehicle.

Douglas said in an average month of handling about 30 vehicle accidents the city might be reimbursed for five to six of the accident investigation reports.

“We enjoyed it while we had it,” he said.

The ordinance repealing the charge will come up for a second reading and vote at the commission meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, July 13.

City Attorney Norm Fugate said the bill was passed during the 2009 regular legislative session and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist on June 16. It takes effect on July 1.