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Corpus Christi Fire Department proposes new fee for residents outside city limits

Posted at 8:09 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 21:09:48-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Leonel Lopez has been advocating for the Colonias for years. He’s a former Corpus Christi fire fighter who fought fires in the Colonias.

“They (residents) don’t have any money,” Lopez said.

He’s worried that a new fee proposed by the Corpus Christi fire Department will affect residents' wallets if their house catches on fire.

The fee would charge residents living outside the city limits, if the fire department or emergency medical services have to travel to them in an emergency situation.

Lopez is worried this will put Colonias residents at a disadvantage because they won’t be able to afford to put their house out if it caught on fire.

He said the Corpus Christi Fire Department isn’t able to get to Colonias residents’ houses before they burn to the ground.

“It’s impossible for a fire engine to go all the way out and then come back and do what? Just charge the people?” Lopez said.

So how much will residents who live outside the City limits be paying for services?

Corpus Christi Fire Department Chief Robert Rocha said that depends on how far away they live, and costs of equipment, personnel and mileage.

Rocha said he hopes residents not being able to pay the fee would not be an issue.

District 4 City Councilman Greg Smith said they also haven’t discussed that issue.

However, he said the fee would be an advantage to the CCFD because residents currently living outside the city limits don’t have to pay taxes towards fire services.

“It kind of brings things closer to fairness, where you have these properties that they’re relying on services paid for by others,” Smith said.

He added on average, residents living within the City limits are paying about $670 a year for fire services.

Smith said the fee will not apply during natural disasters because the fire department is reimbursed by the federal government for disasters.