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Fire Services Assessment

What is a "Fire Services Assessment?"

A “fire services assessment” is a special assessment imposed by the City against non-government property to fund all or a portion of the cost of making available and providing fire-rescue services.  These costs include operating, capital, and debt-service costs to be incurred by the City.

The City adopted a fire services assessment as part of the revenue diversification efforts to reduce the City’s over-reliance on property taxes for funding the general operations of the government.  The City chose a two-tiered approach to calculate the assessment.  The two-tiered methodology for calculating the assessment requires all properties to participate at a set amount regardless of size (Tier 1).  Tier 2 adds additional cost for developed properties based on building cost value and extra features. 

This was a new methodology for calculating a fire assessment called “ready to serve” and requires a greater share of contribution from vacant parcels than the “calls for service” methodology used by other cities. 

Because this was a new methodology, the City made the financially prudent decision to test the legality of the new methodology by issuing a bond and going through a bond validation process.  The City’s methodology was validated by the Circuit Court in December 2013, and the decision was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court by a handful of local residents.  On December 4, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments from both sides.   The Supreme Court upheld the lower court's decision in May 2015.

Fire Assessment Info

Burton & Associates Fire Assessment Study

Fire Service Assessment Q&A