Fire fee has public hearing Monday night


On Monday’s City of St. Augustine commission agenda there will be public hearings and final action on proposals to increase the proposed fire assessment fees and electric utility tax.

Ordinances to increase fire assessment fees from the current four to six cents a square foot, and that would set the electric utility tax at a flat 8%, go to public hearing and final action before the City Commission Monday.

The controversial city fire tax hike that has been proposed was presented “for first reading” to the City Commission at their last regular meeting.

Some residents were confused by the “Notice of Increase” letter recently received in the mail. According to reports, City Comptroller Mark Litzinger, said after the August 10th meeting that he’d received “50 letters or e-mails, 38 calls, 20 checks and six walk-ins.”

According to the St. Augustine Report, “The measures are designed to help balance our city’s budget in the current tight economy.”

The fire assessment fee would apply to both taxed and non-taxed properties in the city, while the 8% electric utility tax would replace the current 10% on the first $100 and 1% on amounts over in city electric bills.

Property owners who object to the fee increase have become more vocal and visible since the controversy arose. Some groups have held meetings with their neighbors to organize their thoughts and strategies to defeat the proposed fire fee.

The commission meeting begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Alcazar Room at City Hall and is likely to be well attended.

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