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Cape fire assessment tax moves ahead

Cape fire assessment tax moves ahead

By Fox 4 News Staff. CREATED Jul 29, 2013

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -  A controversial tax to provide fire protection services in Cape Coral moves forward. It's estimated to generate millions of dollars for the city.

In a vote of 6 to 2, with Mayor John Sullivan and Councilman Chris Leetz dissenting, city leaders voted to take the fire assessment to the next step. The service is a way to ensure everyone is equally protected, improving facilities and purchasing new equipment is part of it. A newly-hired firm presented the numbers and methodology behind this.

Every parcel in the city will pay Tier 1, which is $104.38.  Developed parcels will pay the additional Tier 2, which is $2.46 per each $5,000 of building value. 
City leaders hope this will generate up to $20.2 million for the city. 
 
"I understand fully that we're hitting the same folks," explained Councilwoman Raina Erbrik. "We're just diversifying that revenue. This should help level off the income stream."
 
Mayor Sullivan countered, "I'm a little bit reluctant to go forward taxing people that can't even put food on their table," he said. "We have a lot of problems in Cape Coral."
 
City leaders will lay out the numbers again and officially vote on it at the August 26 city council meeting. Property owners could expect their first bill as early as November.