Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Oro-Medonte fire chief smokes out several ways to boost revenue

By Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,   

Department News News fire chief fire department First Responders Ontario

Apr. 11, 2024, Oro-Medonte, Ont. – It didn’t take Oro-Medonte Township’s new fire chief long to jump on a recommendation by auditor KPMG to find new revenue streams.

Less than three months after being named chief of the Oro-Medonte Fire and Emergency Services (OMFES), Ralph Dominelli presented more than a dozen new fees to township council Wednesday for consideration.

In his report to council on the new fees and charges, Dominelli wrote: “Currently, OMFES is not fully accessing potential revenue sources and the new fees and charges will help rectify this issue.

“The KPMG study recommended an increase in current fees to offset operational costs and costs related to training and certification,” he added. “The new and proposed fees and charges would meet this recommendation moving forward with the legislative requirement for certification and maintaining the certification of OMFES staff.”


According to Dominelli, Oro-Medonte fire department staff compared actual costs and time related to providing the services and cost recoveries. He also said annual reviews and adjustments may be necessary to ensure that revenue can be generated to assist in covering or offsetting operational expenses is adequate.

For example, he said, the township currently does not charge a fee for an annual open-air fire permit.

Dominelli said that while it would appear this is a free service, it’s not. He said the app that the township uses so residents can apply for the annual burn permit costs $4,500. And then there’s the added cost of having staff review and approve the permit.

“The proposed fee has the potential to raise approximately $35,000 per year to cover the cost of administering the permit program and adding additional revenue for OMFES to be allocated to training and certification costs,” Dominelli wrote in his report.

Dominelli said he surveyed the cost of an open-air fire permit with nine other local municipalities — Tiny, Tay, Ramara, Severn, Springwater, New Tecumseth, Midland, Penetanguishene and Orillia.

He said two of the municipalities have open-air burning bylaws — meaning if you don’t conform you could be fined.

One has a permit that is currently $15, but may be increasing. The highest cost for an annual burn permit is $40, Dominelli said.

“We figured the $10 will recoup our costs,” he said.

In his report, Dominelli said the annual fee for open-air burning wouldn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2025.

“This would allow the township to conduct a public awareness program for residents on the new fee,” he wrote.

The new fees are:

  • Inspection requests (excluding inspections required under a building permit) — $75
  • Request for fire inspections – no show — $100
  • Fire inspections for multiple-storey buildings (under three storeys) — $150
  • Special burn permit inspection — $100
  • Security standby for incendiary fires (per apparatus per hour plus any other associated costs) — $500 an hour plus apparatus cost
  • Motor vehicle collision or vehicle fires all other roads (non-township residents) — MTO rates, per hour and per apparatus
  • Emergency response roadways/waterways/railways services provided for emergencies involving damage or faulty electrical power transmission and distribution and their associated hardware, vehicle boats, PWC or trains, on roadways waterways or rail lines — MTO rates, per hour and per apparatus
  • Training courses (municipal departments exempt) — $100 per hour plus related costs
  • Private photo opportunities with fire apparatus, use of apparatus at hall only — $50 per hour
  • Private photo opportunities with fire apparatus, use of apparatus within Oro-Medonte only — $100 per hour maximum of two hours
  • Use of suppression foam, dry chemical etc at a response call — actual costs
  • Open-air fire permit annual fee — $10
  • Securing of property — actual costs.

New fee increases include:

  • Fire inspection for single occupancy buildings (over 20,000 square feet) — $100
  • Fire inspection for multiple tenant buildings (over 20,000 sq. ft.) — $125 plus $30 per unit
  • Fire safety plan and risk management plan reviews — $100
  • Elevator call (after responding to two calls in the same calendar year due to poor or non-maintenance of device after warning) — $300
  • False alarms (more than two false alarms in 12 months at the same building due to faulty or improperly installed or maintained equipment or in the opinion of the fire chief or designate the alarm could have been prevented by alternate measures): Third false alarm — $1,000. For all subsequent false alarms within 12 months the new fee is $1,500
  • Technical responses (ice rescue, confined space, high angle, trench, hazardous materials, or other rescue, heavy equipment, or any specialty equipment not normally used by the fire department to determine origin and cause, suppress or extinguish a fire, preserve property, prevent fires spread or otherwise eliminate an emergency). Actual cost to be determined. Retain private contractor. Provide rescue and environmental cleanup (if it is necessary to retain private contractor, rent equipment not normally carried on a fire apparatus in order to determine origin and cause, suppress or extinguish a fire, preserve property, prevent fire spread, make safe or otherwise eliminate the hazard) — new fee is all actual costs related to the response.

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