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Fire freeloaders skip payments in Paradise Valley

Posted: 10:52 PM, Sep 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-09 05:58:41Z

Fees that cover the cost of fire protection in Paradise Valley are going unpaid by dozens of town property owners.

The fee, which ranges from $30 to $50 per month, pays for the city's contract with Phoenix, which staffs two fire stations within Paradise Valley town limits.

Phoenix and Paradise Valley split the cost of operating the fire stations; the engines are available to respond to calls in nearby Phoenix or other jurisdictions under mutual assistance agreements. Paradise Valley collects $2.8 million worth of fire service fees each year.

A property owner on East Doubletree Ranch Road has not paid the fire fee for more than three years, running up a balance of $1,600, according to records released by the town earlier this year. The town does not collect a property tax. 

Nearly 60 property owners are more than 90 days delinquent on their bills; thirteen have not paid their fees in the last year.

The town's attorney, Andrew Miller, said in an interview Thursday night that most of the long-delinquent accounts are owned by trusts or are between owners. Fewer than one percent of the total bills are delinquent.

Specific addresses of delinquent accounts were not released in response to a public records request ABC15 submitted. Miller said he would revisit whether those specific addresses are subject to open records laws.