DENVILLE— State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco today urged Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Stephen Sweeney to ensure that specific action is taken to eliminate charges for local emergency services as they negotiate legislation to place all such “user fees” under the two percent property tax levy cap.
Bucco (R- Morris), in response to proposals in Passaic to charge residents hundreds of dollars for police, fire, or EMS response in the event of an emergency, has submitted legislation (S-1895) specifically prohibiting user fees for emergency services. He urged the Governor and Senate President to include such a provision in their overall efforts to ensure that user fees for any municipal, county, or school service are not used to circumvent state law capping property tax increases.
“Fees for basic public safety services in a resident’s hour of need should not be charged at all,” said Bucco. “Without my proposal, municipalities could charge whatever they wanted for emergency services as long as the fees fall under the tax cap. That is little comfort to a resident who has been the victim of a crime or whose house is on fire.”
Bucco said that public safety is a basic function of government that all residents should be able to count on. “Fire, police, or medical response is fundamentally different than trash pickup, recycling, or recreational programs,” Bucco continued. “If we cannot fund a basic responsibility of government, public safety, without user fees while paying the highest property taxes in America, something is very wrong.”