To the editor:
A fire assessment tax is again being discussed as a necessity in our city.
When Mark Mason proposed a fire service fee years ago, the amount each property owner would be charged was based on the square footage of the dwelling INCLUDING the lanai and the garage.
Most calls answered by our first responders are not for residential fires. They mostly respond to accidents and medical emergencies. The size of one's property has little to do with the increased likelihood of a heart attack. Having a three car garage does not make one a worse driver who has a greater possibility of driving into a canal or crashing into another's vehicle. A larger screened in pool or just a lanai doesn't mean a greater chance of an elderly person falling or a child not breathing.
It seems unfair to base the fire service fee by a square foot dwelling assessment when many calls are not for a fire at that victim's address.
Since our first responders protect every man, woman and child in the city as well as their homes and possessions I propose a different assessment structure. Let's determine the amount of dollars needed to support the fire department and divide that number by the actual number of residents. Let's put a head tax on everyone living in the city. Let's value every resident equally. Young, old, homeowner, renter, student, - all are served and need to be considered as our heroes are protecting each and everyone of them.
That would be an equitable way to charge people for their fair share. With everyone paying the amounts would be very small and reasonable.
Do I think it would ever happen here? No, but I do believe that every residence should pay the same set amount and any of these new taxes should be approved by the voters through an opportunity at the ballot box.