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NEWBERRY – Newberry residents will not be seeing an increase in their fire assessment fees in the upcoming year. Newberry commissioners set the preliminary fire assessment rate by resolution during the July 13 City Commission meeting with no increase recommended.

Director of Finance & Administration Dallas Lee explained that special assessments for fire services are authorized by the Florida Constitution and are currently being used by many local governments throughout Florida to fund fire services. Lower insurance rates for property owners are a result of the availability of fire services he said.

Special assessment for fire services can only be used to fund personnel costs, capital improvements, equipment and other costs related to responding to fire/non-medical emergencies; and maintaining readiness to respond to fire/non-medical emergencies through staffing, training, procuring and maintaining facilities and equipment.

“Per Florida State Statutes the Commission must adopted an initial or proposed rate for the Fire Assessment for Truth in Millage (TRIM) notifications, which will be mailed in August,” Lee said.

“This rate set tonight will be the highest rate (cap or ceiling) the commission can levy in the current year without re-noticing all property owners, said Lee.

He continued by saying that no increase in the Fire Assessment for FY21 is being proposed.

Rates for residential property owners will remain at $175 per dwelling unit.

Rates for non-residential property use categories are based on a rate per square foot. The Commercial rate remains at $0.15 per square foot. The Industrial/Warehouse rate will remain at $0.03 per square foot and the Institutional rate will remain at $0.20.

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