Helt questions Crestview's proposed fire assessment fee

robyn helt $20k

Robyn Helt, Crestview City Council

Published: Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 05:07 PM.

CRESTVIEW — A proposed fire services fee that could add hundreds of dollars to residential water bills and cost some businesses almost double their property taxes doesn't sit well with Councilwoman Robyn Helt.

The Crestview Fire Department could fund its $3.5 million annual budget by monthly assessing as much as $28.16 to every city residence, according to Tallahassee-based Government Services Group consultants.

Businesses, institutions and commercial properties would receive square foot assessments. An 8,000 square-foot commercial property could be assessed as much as $1,760 atop its annual tax bill.

‘$20,000 OF SIMPLE MATH’

Helt took issue with the $20,000 cost of the report, which, GSG senior project manager Jeff Rackley said, was based on data from the fire department and city clerk’s office.

“Honestly, all of that is information the city has at its disposal any given day,” Helt said. “This looks to me like $20,000 of simple math the city could have figured out.”

By using GSG’s methodology, which Rackley said the Florida Supreme Court has accepted in previous cases, the city could avoid challenges to the levy of the additional fee, Fire Chief Joe Traylor said during a Wednesday workshop.

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