The San Marcos Fire Department could start billing for some of the services it provides.
On May 7, City Council members directed municipal staff to develop an ordinance that would charge for services such as responding to traffic wrecks, hazardous materials calls, illegal burns and swift-water rescues.
Council members said they would prefer to bill insurance companies and people who are at fault or breaking the law.
"I think we should raise as much money as possible without going after a resident who's not doing an illegal activity," Councilman Ryan Thomason said.
Cities such as Georgetown, Cedar Park and San Antonio bill for some fire services, according to information provided by the City of San Marcos.
San Marcos staff members estimate the proposed fee would generate $50,000 to $100,000 in new revenue, which could go into the city's general fund or be designated for fire department education, equipment or operations.
The additional revenue could take the place of property tax increases, Councilman John Thomaides said.
"I would much rather [charge] the people that actually use the service than just pass on an increase in property tax to pay for the increase in fire service," he said.
Under the proposed billing process, fire department personnel would collect insurance information at the scene of an incident and submit that information to a third-party vendor. The vendor, which typically deducts a fee of 20 percent, would send an invoice to the at-fault party's insurance company.
After developing the language of the proposed ordinance, city staff members will bring it to City Council for deliberation. A timeline for completion has not been set.