City Commission gives preliminary approval to fire assessment rate

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 8:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 8:33 p.m.

The City Commission gave preliminary approval Tuesday to the fire assessment rate for the upcoming fiscal year.

In a 6-1 vote, commissioners voted to maintain the current rate of $78 per fire protection unit. Mayor Ed Braddy cast the dissenting vote, saying he did not support the fee or the fact that it was levied on churches and nonprofit organizations.

Commissioner Todd Chase, who has voted against the assessment in the past, voted to support it for the time being. He said his support when the assessment comes back for a final vote would depend on other areas that impact the budget: Gainesville Regional Utilities' making more internal budget cuts, the fire union and the city reaching agreement on a contract and the City Commission not increasing taxes or adding spending to the budget.

The final vote is scheduled for the evening of Sept. 9.

First established in 2010, the fire assessment fee generates some $5 million annually for fire protection and has allowed the city to avoid more significant cuts to other areas of the general fund in the wake of the recession and economic downturn.

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