NY 1 - December 21, 2010Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano is addressing the controversial proposal to charge drivers if the department's vehicles respond to a crash.
Speaking on Monday's edition of "Inside City Hall," Cassano said the proposal wouldn't amount to a tax and only drivers who cause accidents and need fire department resources would be charged.
The commissioner added he's trying to find other ways to increase revenue instead of closing 20 fire companies overnight.
Without the extra money, Cassano said department operations will be affected.
"That's why we thought if we could charge people a fee for using the fire department resource, it would take some of the burden off the people that never use our resource, so it would be there for them when they need them," Cassano said.
Cassano says a department highlight of 2010 is the record low number of fire deaths in the five boroughs since the city started keeping track in 1919.
He credits fire and EMS dedication and prevention techniques for the low numbers.