Last week, The City of Savannah voted to continue exploring a fire service fee to homeowners, churches and schools/universities. City Manager Rob Hernandez said “the city is spending more than it’s earning and they project there could be an $18 million deficit by 2018.” The fire fee would free up general budget funds currently spent on fire services. The fire fee would even apply to tax-exempt properties, like schools, non-profits and houses of worship.
Several pastors of congregations throughout the community watched the presentation from the City Council Chambers of the Fire Fee Accessment presented by Chief Charles Middleton to Council members. There were concerns expressed by the ministers as well as several aldermen.
The fire fee will be based on the Building Area/1700sq. ft times the Risk Factor times the rate. The rate has not been confirmed. City consultants say the fee for single family homes could be as much as $370 annually.
They estimate a mid-size church could pay around $3,100 and a university with several properties could pay as much as $360,000.
The fire service fee will be considered as part of the FY 2018 budget to be released on or about November 21, 2017 and adopted at second City Council meeting in December.