Assessing Fire Fees
Gainesville Fire Rescue is holding a public meeting at Lincoln Middle School to explain just how much they need and what they're asking from residential, commercial, and religious property owners.
Gainesville Fire Rescue says the department is facing a shortfall of $650,000 for next year's budget.
The reason? They say the result of Amendment One passing, and thereby limiting how much the city can generate in funds for the services they provide, which means the potential loss of 14 firefighters and trucks taken out of service.
Since June 19th, the fire department has been fielding phone calls from the public asking just how much a fire assessment fee would affect them if the city passes the proposition.
On average, homeowners could see an additional bill up to $30 for the year. While warehouse, commercial and institutional property owners would pay based on square footage.from 2 cents to 6 cents per square foot.
The fire assesment fee, if passed, would apply only to fire fighting services that protect building structures.
"The service we provide in fire fighting, strictly benefits the property the building is on fire we put it out we save the building," said Gainesville Fire Rescue Chief Bill Northcutt. "What we do for EMS saves the people that is not assessable in assessing the property."
The fire assessment fee cannot apply to government-owned property, like the University of Florida, which is tax exempt. but, they have asked UF to contribute 2.9 million dollars for the 15 million square feet of property GFR is responsible for covering.
The final public hearing will be on July 16th, after which city commissioners will vote on whether they'll pass the fee.
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