Sarasota County to host public meetings on updated fire assessment methodology

Changes in fees and classifications approved for implementation in the 2018 fiscal year

These are the tentative fire assessments the County Commission approved on May 23. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Because the Sarasota County Emergency Services Department has updated the methodology for determining fire assessments, it is inviting the public to learn about the proposed changes to the assessments.

“Fire assessments are charges imposed against real property to fund the fire services” provided to the public, a news release explains.

The county’s current fire assessment rates and methodology remain unchanged since 2003, the release adds. Since 2003, however, the county has “experienced tremendous growth” in the numbers of commercial, single-family and multi-family properties, the release points out. A review of fire department response time and historical emergency incident data demonstrated the need to update the assessment methodology, the release explains.

The new methodology will include government buildings, but it will remove special agricultural zones, reducing the number of classifications from four to three, the release points out. The assessment also will include primary structures only, not out buildings such as barns, sheds and similar structures, the release points out.

On May 23, the County Commission approved the updated methodology as well as the initial rates. The not-to-exceed assessments were affirmed on July 12, with the board’s approval to move forward with Truth in Millage (TRIM) notifications scheduled for mailing on Aug. 18. Those notices of proposed taxes will have the amounts of the new fire assessment fees that will be on tax bills mailed in November. The commissioners will set the final fire assessment rates during a Sept. 11 public hearing on the county budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Residents may attend any or all of the following public meetings to learn more about the new fire assessments, ask questions and provide comments. The meetings will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. as follows:

  • Aug. 22: North Sarasota Library, located at 2801 Newtown Blvd. in Sarasota.
  • Aug. 24: Fire Station No. 10, located at 35 Vic Edwards Road in Sarasota.
  • Aug. 29: Gulf Gate Library, located at 7112 Curtiss Ave. in Sarasota.
  • Aug. 31: Fire Station No. 16, located at 5875 Hummingbird Ave. in Sarasota
  • Sept. 5: Fire Station No. 1, located at 1445 4th St. in Sarasota.

For more information, call the county Contact Center at 861-5000 or visit

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