HomeCommunity NewsCommissioners vote to increase...

Commissioners vote to increase fire assessment rates

BRADENTON – Property owners in the West Manatee Fire Rescue District in western Manatee County will notice an increase in the fire assessment rate when TRIM notices go out later this year, but it won’t be a big jump in cost.

District commissioners voted 4-1 to increase assessment rates for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The increase will be 4%, slightly less than the allowable increase of 5.64%.

WMFR gets most of its income from special assessment rates paid by property owners in the district. Since the assessments are non-ad valorem, they’re not based on a property’s taxable value. Instead, they are based on the size of the building on the property or set at a flat rate if the property is vacant.

The maximum percentage that the rate can be increased each year is based on personal income growth, or PIG. Though district leaders expected the 2021 number to be much lower, it came in at 6.8% for the state of Florida according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The maximum increase considered by WMFR commissioners during their April mid-year budget workshop was 5.64%.

What this means for district taxpayers, including all property owners on Anna Maria Island, in Cortez and the west side of unincorporated Manatee County, is that what you pay annually for fire service is increasing slightly on your next property tax bill.

A 4% increase will bring the residential property base rate up $7.82 to $203.35 with an increase for properties over 1,000 square feet of $0.0046 to $0.1199 per square foot. For a 2,000-square-foot home, this brings the total rate up from $310.85 to $323.28, a difference of $12.43. The rate for a 3,000-square-foot home would increase from $426.17 to $443.22 and from $541.50 to $563.16 for a 5,000-square-foot home.

Commercial property owners will notice an increase as well, with the commercial base rate increasing from $485.94 to $505.38 and the per-square-foot rate increasing from $0.2104 to $0.2188 for buildings over 1,000 square feet. The 4% increase brings the total rate for a 2,000-square-foot commercial property to $724.23 with a 3,000-square-foot building coming in at $943.08 and the rate for a 4,000-square-foot commercial building increasing to $1,161.92.

Commissioner Al Robinson was the lone vote against raising the assessment rate for the coming year. Robinson has previously been vocal about curbing the department’s spending and lessening the burden of the fire district on property owners.

Despite the increase in assessment rates, WMFR still has one of the lowest rates in Manatee County.

Commissioner David Bishop said the decision to vote whether or not to increase assessment rates is a difficult one. He warned his fellow commissioners that in looking to the future of the district they don’t get too far ahead for the taxpayer base. He said he feels the district could quickly reach a tipping point with costs and that they want to make sure that those costs don’t tip the wrong way, ending up too high to be sustainable.

“It’s a tough vote every year,” Bishop said.

Related coverage

 

WMFR board may raise 2021-22 assessment rates

 

WMFR staff celebrates four promotions

 

WMFR responds to fire at Cortez Cove Marina

Most Popular

More from Author

Events

Wednesday, May 15 Kickstart your creative writing, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina...

County pushes for fire district mergers

MANATEE COUNTY – County commissioners asked the county’s seven fire chiefs...

Hundreds rally against consolidation, garage

HOLMES BEACH – The Florida heat didn’t stop a crowd from...

Residents consider initiating consolidation referendum

HOLMES BEACH – Anna Maria Island residents are working to find...

Fritz Dahlquist lived a wonderful life

HOLMES BEACH – Longtime Holmes Beach resident and Nautilus condominium complex manager Fritz Dahlquist passed away after a brief and sudden illness on May 8. He was 70. He’s survived by his wife of nearly 45 years, Dena, and their two adult daughters, Abby Dahlquist and Lenna Dahlquist....

Signed palm tree agreement remains elusive

BRADENTON BEACH – A newly-planted coconut palm tree that fell over on Bridge Street last week has raised questions about whether the city obtained a signed indemnification agreement prior to planting it and 79 other trees. At the April 3 Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting, members unanimously approved...

First win for Shady Lady

ANNA MARIA – After two halves of youth soccer action, team AMI Coconuts could not put a point on the scoreboard against The Intuitive Foundation squad in the 8- to 10-year-old recreational soccer league at The Center of Anna Maria Island. The Coconuts team put up a strong...

Buyers losing hope

Tired of waiting for mortgage rates to come down? You’re not alone. Every potential buyer out there is waiting for the same thing, the problem is the Federal Reserve isn’t moving the needle, so it might be a long wait. The Federal Reserve made no move in their...

Try a beach fishing adventure

Are you an accidental angler? Someone who might not be passionate about fishing but who has always wondered what all the hype is about? Maybe you’re an avid freshwater angler from the north unfamiliar with the salt. Whatever your situation, if you want to get a taste...

Latest Pine Avenue bid rejected

ANNA MARIA – Following Mayor Dan Murphy’s recom­mendation, the city commission rejected the latest Reimagining Pine Avenue bid received from C-Squared. On May 9, the commission voted 5-0 in favor of rejecting C-Squared’s approximately $1.4 million bid to construct a one-block Reimagining Pine Avenue prototype area that was...

Candidate qualifying commences soon

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The candi­date qualifying periods will soon begin for those seeking election or reelection during the 2024 election cycle. Anna Maria provides a two-week qualifying period. Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Manatee County provide one-week qualifying periods. All city commission and may­oral terms on the...

Farrington secures petition signatures

MANATEE COUNTY – Mana­tee County Supervisor of Elec­tions candidate Scott Farrington has secured enough petition signatures to avoid paying a $10,133 qualifying fee. The one-week qualifying period for county candidates begins on Monday, June 10 at noon and ends on Friday, June 14 at noon. Farrington will face...

Captain: Derelict boats looming issue

CORTEZ - Tour boat Capt. Kathe Fannon is questioning why authorities are focusing on the removal of Raymond “Junior” Guthrie’s net camp from the waters off Cortez while ignoring more than 20 derelict boats in the same waters. “The net camp is who we are, it’s our heritage,”...

Season’s first shorebird nest discovered

BRADENTON BEACH – The first shorebird nests this year on Anna Maria Island have been spotted and marked by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteers. A colony of least terns began nesting the week of May 6 at an undisclosed location in Bradenton Beach. A...

Mayors discuss law enforcement consolidation

ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy and Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth are not on the same page when it comes to the potential consolidation of law enforcement services, with each mayor preferring their city’s law enforcement agency take over policing in both cities. As is...

March tourism numbers soar

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – March tourism numbers are up from last year in all three Island cities, significantly so in the City of Anna Maria. Each month, the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office reports how much income the county’s 5% tourist tax produces. The tax is collected from...