BUSINESS
05/11/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Cities Turn To Fees To Fill Budget Gaps

After her sport utility vehicle sideswiped a van in early February, Shirley Kimel was amazed at how quickly a handful of police officers and firefighters in Winter Haven, Fla., showed up. But a real shock came a week later, when a letter arrived from the city billing her $316 for the cost of responding to the accident.

"I remember thinking, 'What the heck is this?' " says Ms. Kimel, 67, an office manager at a furniture store. "I always thought this sort of thing was covered by my taxes."

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