Fire assessment proposal splits Lehigh voters

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- In less than two weeks voters will decide whether or not to pass a fire assessment of $292 that would replace property taxes.

“I will tell you, I am going to vote no,” said resident Mohamed Yasin.

“It’s no different than paying homeowner’s insurance,” said Jennifer Combs.

Two different stories, two different opinions.

Combs and Yasin both have their reasons behind the way they plan to vote.

On August 22nd, Combs’s daughter Emma nearly lost her life.

“I ran over to the pool and Emma was floating face down in the water.”

In 6 minutes the Lehigh Acres Fire Department responded to the call.

“You’ll never get the images of what she looked like out of your head.”

Combs grabbed Emma out of the pool and started performing CPR. That’s when Lehigh Fire showed up.

“They told me that had their station not been there, Emma might have had to wait 15 minutes. Emma didn’t have 15 minutes.”

On the other side of the issue are residents like Yasin who flips homes in Lehigh then rents them out.

Yasin says he pays about $80 in property taxes a year per house. If the assessment passes, that number would more than triple.

He says if he wants to stay competitive with other landlords, he will have to pick up the tab for his renters.

“I will not be able to put it on the lease to make them pay because people are struggling in Lehigh.”

Voters will have the chance to decide on the issue November 4th.

Author: Andrew Scheinthal