To the editor:
The proposed fire "assessment" is in reality a tax and not a special assessment. It's tier 2 calculation rate is based on advalorem value of your home or business structure and not on benefit. If, for example, your home has a fire sprinkler system, metal 2 by 4's partitions, concrete and stucco instead of plastic or fiberglass siding and a tile roof instead of asphalt or tar, your house is more valuable and you pay more because it is based on advalorem value and not on benefit.
Tier 1 is grossly inequitable in its levy. A quarter section of the Zemel brush covered land in our northern Cape would pay $140.28. A single grass-mowed 10,000- square-foot lot also would pay the same or 697 times more. It is inequitable and invalid on a square foot area basis.
The major mission of the fire department is not fires. The responses for fire are only 7 percent of all calls and structure fires are less than 5 percent. The 93 percent non fire calls are mostly for medical emergencies or potential medical emergencies. We are, however, trying to collect about 65 or 70 percent of the cost of the fire department. This is like trying to assess more than the utility costs to get extra money for the general government. It also is invalid.
The so-called "assessment" is also contrary to legislative policy and intent. The Florida Legislature has limited a city taxation to real estate and capped the amount at 10 mills to control spending. If cities were allowed to assess the cost of police for their protection of property and the cost of neighborhood parks to the property in their area the 10 mill limit for public spending would be run around. The proposed fire assessment is contrary to public policy.
Arnold E. Kempe