Letter to the Editor,
In response to your inquiry, attached is the resolution the Board voted on last night that outlines the fee rates per category and the actual ballot language that will be presented at the polls in November.
The vote was 4-1 in favor of the resolution and fee schedule.
The estimated net revenue generated from the assessment would be approximately $13,442,604.00. The District needs approximately $15,000,000.00 per year to sustain the same level of coverage we provide today. The difference here will be accomplished through our ambulance transport fees that we budget at approximately $1,500,000.00 per year.
Thank you for your inquiry and we would appreciate any coverage you may be able to provide on this matter. The main thing to remember is that this fee will be replacing the fire taxes already paid by the residents. It IS NOT in addition to what they are paying now. The amount they would pay in the future could be greater or less than what they are paying today. They will only be paying or saving the difference between the two (2) fees. Currently, the District WILL NOT be charging a property tax (ad valorem tax) on top of the assessment; this has been a point of confusion lately.
As we discussed, if the District ends up laying off firefighters, shuts down response apparatus, and closes stations; the overall community fire protection rating (ISO rating) will increase. This will result in the residents’ property insurance rates increasing…possibly at a rate higher than the assessment amount.
Basically, the residents will be paying someone more revenue next year, either their insurance agent (for no additional services) or the Fire District to keep the level of service they enjoy now. The residents will be deciding at the polls in November what level of service they want to pay for in the future. Is $0.70 per day, $4.90 per week, or $21.25 per month too much to ask for to protect your family (rate based on a typical 1500 sq.ft. 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage home in Lehigh Acres)?
The residents will have to decide.
John R. Wayne, BPA, MAA, EMT-P
Fire Chief Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District
636 Thomas Sherwin Ave. S. Lehigh Acres, FL 33974