The Hernando County Board of County Commissioners is considering eliminating a fire protection ad valorem tax and modifying the current fire protection Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU) rates to fund the fire department. This consolidation provides for fire assessments based on a court-tested benefit methodology where fees are consistently applied to all properties within certain categories.
The current hybrid fee structure includes majority funding from the MSBU plus partial funding via a 0.5 mil Fire Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) that is based on property values. In accordance with state law, the ad valorem MSTU fees are calculated differently exempting approximately 11,000 properties from the current 0.5 millage rate and homeowners with greater assessable valued property pay more for fire protection than the homeowners with lower assessed values. The MSBU fee applies to all properties equally as all benefit from fire protection.
HCFR provides all-hazards fire and emergency services protection to the entire County, except in the City of Brooksville whose property owners only pay the county EMS MSTU fees for countywide emergency medical transport services. The department staffs 13 advanced life support fire engines across the County 24 hours a day, everyday, and includes enhanced capabilities via teams trained and equipped for high risk incidents such as Hazardous Materials, Technical Rescue, and Aircraft Rescue Firefighting. As the County grows, so has the emergency calls for help. HCFR responded to 26,907 emergency incidents in 2014 and that has steadily increased 21.5% to 32,704 last year utilizing the same number of engine companies and ambulances.
Below you will find the proposed Fiscal Year 2019 fire assessment eliminating the ad valorem and modifying the MSBU rates. The estimated revenue to be collected is $26,333,629 based on 95% collection of the total below and is the funding source to provide fire services to Hernando County.
A listing of some frequently asked questions about the proposed tax change are available at:
A public hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. in the Hernando County Government Center, 20 N. Main Street, Room 160, Brooksville, Florida, for the purpose of receiving public comment on the proposed assessment.
Contact: Alex Lopez Division Chief of Training & Safety Public Information Officer [email protected]