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Fire district to hold public hearing

By MELISSA BILL - | Sep 9, 2020


The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing next Monday to discuss implementation of the new voter-approved fire assessment.

The public hearing will be held on at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14 inside Station 104 at 3102 16th St SW.

During the meeting, the fire district board will listen to comments from all property owners and members of the Lehigh community prior to the implementation and imposition of the simplified fire assessment approach, which was approved by voters in August.

A notice of the public meeting has been sent to all property owners and also may be found on LAFCRD website: https://www.lehighfd.com/administration/page/simplified-fire-district-assessment-information-page

According to Katie Heck, Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District spokesperson, the district is offering two options for the public to provide comments to commissioners; either by email and/or by attending the public hearing. Comments can be sent via email: 4914hearing@lehighfd.com

“We have a lot of people who live here but aren’t able to get to the meeting. We will consider these residents’ emails just the same as we would those who came in person, and their questions or thoughts will be addressed,” Heck said.

All public meeting attendees will be required to wear a mask and/or appropriate facial covering during the meeting and measures will be taken to encourage social distancing.

“In order to follow CDC guidelines on social distancing, we will be holding the meeting in station 104’s bay. There will be fans going throughout the meeting and water provided,” Heck said.

The final decision on how to fund the district’s 2020-21 budget must be made by the board this month. The two choices presented to the board are to adopt the simplified assessment method which provides for community-oriented exemptions as proposed, or to continue with the demand-based method, which would generate much less revenue for the budget and likely not allow for any community-oriented exemptions.

On Aug 18, voters approved an alternative method to fund the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District – the replacement of its current “demand-based” assessment with a “simplified” fire methodology. Under the simplified fire methodology, property owners will pay an annual assessment not exceeding $162 per parcel plus $.93 per $1,000 of the value of improvements on a parcel of land.

A final public hearing on the adoption of the fire district’s budget is scheduled for Sept. 29.

According to the LAFCRD public meeting notice, members of the public may file written objections or comments with the district board within 20 days of this notice.

Persons with disabilities needing special accommodation or an interpreter to participate in this proceeding should contact the LAFCRD at (239) 303-5300 at least two business days before the hearing date. If hearing impaired, Florida Relay Service numbers for assistance are (800) 955-8771 (TDD) or (800) 955-8770 (voice).