SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) - Calling 911 in San Marcos could soon result in fees up to $500.
If approved, a new city ordinance would bill negligent citizens the cost of sending trucks to a fire scene, swift water rescues or any other situations where they're first on the scene.
"It ranges anywhere from $250 to $500 per call," said Steve Parker, City of San Marcos chief financial officer.
Based on history, the move could bring in $50,000 to $100,000 the first year.
"If there's a motor vehicle accident on the interstate, if there's a hazmat spill, a negligent fire by a contractor," Parker said, "we're looking at ways we can recoup the time the fire department is spending."
Parker says the bill wouldn't go to the individual, rather their insurance company.
Locals are mixed on the idea.
"I think that is a good idea," said neighbor Cody Untermeyer. "If somebody has an irresponsible wildfire or something like that, and that gets out of hand they should be fined, or they should have to pay for or compensate the fire department for whatever they had to pay to get out there."
Others felt there are more pressing concerns to deal with in the city.
"I think there are more important things having to do with the campus," said Ryan Broadie. "It's a college town as well, so there are a lot of other issues."
The city said the next step is to draw up the ordinance and take it to vote within a few weeks. If approved, it would go into effect in six to nine months.
Only those San Marcos residents who are determined to have been negligent and needing rescue support will be billed. However, officials did say the ordinance will charge out-of-town residents needing emergency services from the fire department, regardless of negligence.
Some Central Texas cities already charge people in certain types of emergencies.
Cedar Park has had an ordinance in place for more than a decade for fire department calls. Officials there said they've seen a lot of success and it saves $100,000 a year in revenue.
As would be the case in San Marcos, the Cedar Park Fire Department bills the insurance company, not the individual.
San Marcos city leaders said they based their plan off of the system in Cedar Park, as well as one in Georgetown.
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.