LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- Lehigh Acres voters will decide in November whether to move to a new form of financing for the cash-strapped fire district. The new plan would replace property taxes with fees, payable on square footage of structures.
"I have a passion for this. We need it," says Larry Becker of the new plan. He is chairman of the Lehigh fire commission.
Becker says the district will run out of money in about 2 and a half years, if it continues to use property taxes for its budgeting.
The fees would amount to 17 cents for a home, per square foot under a roof. That means, the garage counts toward the square footage. So, a 2000-sq. foot home would get a bill for $340 a year for fire and ambulance service.
The fees for fire and ambulance would be 40 cents per sq. ft. for commercial properties. It would be 6 cents for industrial and warehouse properties.
In addition, owners of undeveloped land would pay $21 a year per acre for fire protection.
Voters decide the fate of the new financing plan in the election this November.