Will The Lehigh Acres Fire Dept Raise Your Fire Fee Assessment?
By Ben Smell – Special correspondent for the Lehigh Acres Gazette
Ongoing sources at the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District have made it perfectly clear that a 4.1% increase of the Fire Fee Assessment is on the Five Fire Commissioners table for review. If approved by the board this made residential assessment rise to $303.97 from 292.00.
Commercial from .35 to .364 a square foot, Industrial/Warehouse from .06 to .062 a square foot, Institutional from .52 to .541 a square foot and Vacant Land from $21.00 to $21.861.
Also in the new proposed budget are 5 new staff vehicles nearly $300,000, new brushtruck $200,000, new bunker gear nearly $400,000, new radios over $200,000 and contractual requirements to the union starting Oct 1, 2017 of nearly $620,000.
The fire department has already purchased 2 new fire trucks, 5 new ambulances and is currently building a new brush truck.
A Fire Commission workshop is scheduled Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at 1 pm at Station 104 on Sunshine Blvd.
No commissioners would comment on this upcoming workshop. But did find out that one thing, that Commissioner Smith will not be able to be at the meeting.
The Lehigh Acres Gazette has learned something that the Former Chief failed to mention prior to the voting of the fire fee assessment.
According to the IRS that the Fire Fee Assessment is NOT a tax so you can’t deduct the charge as a real estate tax on your personal or corporate tax return.
So how people many people have done this so far in the last two years?
Following is the rule from the IRS:
Itemized charges for services. An itemized charge for services assessed against specific property or certain people isn’t a tax, even if the charge is paid to the taxing authority. For example, you can’t deduct the charge as a real estate tax if it is:
- A unit fee for the delivery of a service (such as a $5 fee charged for every 1,000 gallons of water you use),
- A periodic charge for a residential service (such as a $20 per month or $240 annual fee charged to each homeowner for trash collection), or
- A flat fee charged for a single service provided by your government (such as a $30 charge for mowing your lawn because it was allowed to grow higher than permitted under your local ordinance).
According to IRS a spokesperson if you recording such fee or assessment in your return you could be subject to an IRS audit and or fines.