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Guilty party in West Allis car crashes to face $250 fine

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WEST ALLIS -- Getting in a car accident in West Allis is about to get more expensive for non-West Allis residents! Starting in 2013, following any car crash in West Allis that requires service from the fire department, the guilty party will be hit with a $250 bill.

West Allis Alderman Michael May says the $250 was determined by FEMA's rates, and how much it costs to perform a service.

"It very clearly indicates that the crash fee goes to the person who is at fault. An oil spill for instance, if there's a lot of debris that has resulted from the accident," May said.

West Allis estimates the crash tax charged to non-residents will generate $25,000 in the first year.

The idea is not sitting well with Jim Badem. 

"It's going to have a chain reaction, because what's going to happen is now, non-residents are going to be penalized for the cost of their insurance," Badem said.

Regardless of who is penalized and who is at fault, West Allis says if the fee wasn't implemented, the city would've had to collect the money through property taxes.

"We're always looking at our budgets. Budgets are always tight, and we don't want to be putting these charges on the taxpayer," May said.

12 communities in Milwaukee County already utilize a similar system. Some municipalities charge both the resident and non-resident, and some of the fees near $500. Who is at fault is determined by the insurance companies.