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The York City Fire Department will begin to bill insurance companies after responding to a fire to help cover the costs of its vehicles.

York City Council unanimously approved the measure on Tuesday, bringing the fire department up to date with other departments in third-class cities, including Lancaster, that bill insurance companies in an effort to control costs to taxpayers.

"It's been a success for all the departments," said Fire Department Chief Chad Deardorff. "It's not burdening the taxpayer; it’s relieving some taxpayer money to buy needed items."

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All of the money will be used to equip staff vehicles. The billing is all done through the Pennsylvania Fire Recovery Service, which takes 15% off the top.

Any leftover funds at year's end would be rolled over, similar to a capital improvement fund, Deardorff said.

"It's not going to be a huge amount of money, but it will be enough to finally recover some of the costs," said City Council President Henry Nixon.

Deardorff predicted the department is going to receive up to $1,500 per incident depending on its severity, which could total as much as $35,000 annually. He emphasized homeowners will never see a bill.

Home insurance policies already have a section for fire department service fees, according to the Fire Recovery Service. However, it's left up to the department to claim the money and bill the insurer.

Since it's already built into policies, premiums will not increase, Deardorff said.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.

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