City Council Sets Fire Service Assessment / Appeal Form
Cape Coral City Council set the FY 2015 Fire Service Assessment at 38 percent at the 1st public hearing on the FY 2015 Operating Budget. This is the same rate as last year and lower than the public noticed rate of 64 percent. The assessment will be collected using the property tax bill.
Homeowners who want to appeal the values used to calculate the fire assessment amount can complete the Fire Protection Assessment Petition.
Council also established a 20-day period for homeowners to apply for a hardship deferral. This will allow permanent residents of Cape Coral whose total household income is at or below a certain level to defer all or a portion of the assessment. Homeowners have until September 24 to apply for the deferral. Homeowners can call (239) 242-3852 for information on how to complete the hardship application.
Revenue diversification measures were implemented in 2013 to provide much-needed funds to begin restoring the City’s long-neglected capital needs and other services. The fire protection service assessment was one of those measures. A promise was made to the citizens that the additional annual funding needed would be about $150 for the average homeowner ($100,000 taxable value). To ensure this promise is kept, the fire protection service assessment will be adjusted as necessary.
The City’s fire protection service assessment methodology was adopted by City Council in July 2013 and validated by the local Circuit Court in December 2013. The court’s decision currently is being appealed to the Florida Supreme Court by a small group of residents. A ruling is expected in the near future, and the City is optimistic of a successful outcome. Because of the Circuit Court ruling, the City has the authority to bill and collect the annual fire protection service assessment. Funds are being held in escrow pending the decision from the Florida Supreme Court. Questions about the fire protection service assessment should be directed to the Assessment Coordinator at (239) 242-3851.