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City plans to charge for accident cleanup

San Francisco will soon begin charging motorists involved in accidents a cleanup fee in an effort to reduce the city's deficit.

The San Francisco Fire Department expects to begin collecting fees in two weeks, according to the SF Examiner. San Francisco is the first major city in the nation to adopt a so-called first-responder fee. 

The city would charge motorists who caused accidents up to $500 for any cleanup associated with the accident. Drivers should expect to pay anywhere from $298 to $498 to cover the cleanup costs, according to SF Appeal. The fee is expected to earn the city up to $626,000 per year to help close a $13 million deficit in the Fire Department budget.

Only drivers found to be at fault would be charged. The plan is to charge the driver's insurance company. 

Other fees have been considered in California. Sacramento is considering a first-responder fee, while Huntington Beach approved one for tourists but later rescinded it. Only 21 percent of Californians support first-responder fees, while 50 percent oppose them, according to a poll conducted by the Insurance Information Network of California.

The fee was approved by the Board of Supervisors in July.