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It Could Cost You $350 to Call 9-1-1 in Murrieta

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Ambulance via Shutterstock
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The small Riverside County city of Murrieta is considering a new proposal that could make it expensive to get emergency medical crews out to a 9-1-1 call.Residents could be faced with paying $350 every time they called 9-1-1 hoping to bring out an emergency crew to get medical attention. That's about one-third of the 7,000 calls that come into 9-1-1 for the small city. The alternative to the one-time fee would be paying an annual $48 "subscription fee," according to KPCC.

The proposal could generate about half of a million dollars for the city. Property taxes have been plummeting in recent years, and the fire department says that it is hoping to use the money to stave off cuts that would require cutting jobs or shutting down stations, Murrieta Patch reported.

At a community meeting earlier this month Murrieta Fire Chief Matt Shobert told residents: "This is a subscription program. If people don’t want to pay we won’t know the difference whether they are a subscriber or not until several days later. It is not a tax; it is more of an appeal to our community."

A similar proposal created controversy when it passed in Tracy, California, though officials said the response was overblown.