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LA Officials Consider Charging Extra For Emergency Services

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Having an emergency in the city of Los Angeles may soon cost residents a whole lot of money.

City officials are considering charging more for some emergency services that many residents feel they already pay for in taxes.

It is one of multiple revenue-saving options detailed in a 20-page report from the city’s chief legislative analyst, many of which directly impact public services. The proposals have some residents, like Sandra, worried.

Sandra depends on multiple prescriptions each day for her heart condition. When some of her pills got mixed up a year ago, she made a call to 911.

“If they hadn’t gotten here, I would have been dead,” she said.

Sandra’s health insurance paid for the cost of the Ambulance.

But the new proposal could mean that for future emergencies, she could be charged hundreds of dollars just to have a paramedic check her out.

“If I had to pay for that I don’t know quite how I would do it,” she said.

The Los Angeles City Council is considering ambulance fees — $342 for a non-transport call. However, an ambulance insurance policy would be available for $30-60 per year.

“If you have to be transported, you get that service for free, because you’re paying a monthly fee,” said. Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks, who noted that it is no secret that the city needs cash. “I think we’re going to have to find ways to increase the pie of revenue versus expecting the current revenue to regenerate itself.”

The report also suggests adding a $2.25 per month fee to every phone even if you do not dial and emergency call, making home owners, like Sandra, wonder where her property tax is going.

“About $2,500 and it’s all gone,” she said, referring to her property tax payment.

“Yes, they are paying property tax. They’re also paying sales tax, they’re also paying business tax,” Parks said, adding that property taxes go into the general fund and the proposed fees would too.

Although Sandra knows that her emergency services are priceless, she is afraid that their possible new price tag could have her thinking twice when she should be calling for help.

“I think they can find other ways to fund things,” she said.

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