|SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County Emergency Services invites the community to learn about fire assessment, methodology, process, and rates, which it is in the process of updating.
The department is in the process of developing the 2024 budget, which includes recommendations for a number of public safety enhancements including improvements to fire stations, staffing, equipment, and maintaining reserves for disasters.
To keep up with the growing demand for services to residential and non-residential locations, Emergency Services continually pursues areas of enhancements in the level of services provided by the fire department. Each year, fire assessment rates and ad valorem taxes are evaluated as part of the budgetary process to align with the annual funding of fire protection service for our community.
According to the Sarasota County Fire Department, strategic requests for enhancements that align with our Strategic Master Plan include additional staffing, construction and renovation of fire stations, Regional Training Academy, advancements in technology and a thorough review of service delivery.
The 2024 assessment includes a recommended 15% increase. This equates to less than:$2.42 monthly ($0.08 per day) increase for the average 2,500 sq. ft. home.$2.50 monthly ($0.08 per day) increase for the average 1,600 sq. ft. multi-family home.$24.50 per month (less than $0.82 per day) for the average 10,000 sq. ft. commercial business.
The department is not recommending any increases in the EMS ad valorem that provides for the emergency medical services provided by the county.
Residents may attend any or all of the following public meetings to learn more about the changes to fire assessment rates, the methodology used, and provide comments or ask questions. Meetings are open to the public and planned to last one hour, beginning at 6 p.m., on the following dates:May 9, Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota.May 16, Gulf Gate Public Library, 7112 Curtiss Ave., Sarasota.May 18, William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library, 300 Nokomis Ave. S., Venice. Fire assessments are the primary funding mechanism for the provision of fire protection services in unincorporated areas of Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota. Fire assessment fees are based on square footage of a building and charges are imposed against real property.
On May 9, the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners will consider a request to authorize advertisement of a public hearing on May 24. The public hearing will consider adoption of an updated methodology and rates for the 2024 budget year. Sarasota County Commissioners will vote on the final fire assessment rates for fiscal year 2024 on Sept. 11, 2023.
For more information, call 311 or visit www.scgov.net.