WMFR hikes 2012 tax assessment

At a public hearing May 17, West Manatee Fire District commissioners increased the district’s assessment roughly $4 per household.

WMFR Chief Andy Price recommended the 2012 rate hike to meet rising operational costs and put away funds for expected increases in insurance costs. The rates are being set for fiscal 2012-2013 tax year, beginning Oct. 1, and “long before the tax bills are sent out,” he said.

On a motion by Commissioner Scott Ricci, seconded by David Bishop, the three district members in attendance, including President Randy Cooper, unanimously passed a resolution to amend the rate charged to district residents.

WMFR Commissioners Larry Tyler and Jesse Davis were absent.

The hike is permissible because it represents a 2.5 percent increase, below this year’s 3.16 percent assessment cap as measured by the county’s 1 percent personal income growth factor, said Price.

“It’s not a large increase, but it’s a necessary one,” he said.

The district expects a 19 percent increase in its worker’s compensation insurance, a 10 percent increase in health insurance costs and a 6 percent increase in Florida retirement contributions.

The board’s resolution sets vacant parcels at $22.23 per lot or acre. It raises the base assessment for residential parcels, including condominiums and mobile homes, to $169.32 for the first 1,000 square feet and 10 cents per square foot above 1,000 square feet. For duplexes, the new base assessment is $338.64 for the first 2,000 square feet and 10 cents per square foot above 2,000 square feet.

Commercial parcels will be assessed at $399.56 for the first 1,000 square feet and .173 cents per square foot above 1,000 square feet. A $169.32 base assessment will be charged per unit or available rental space for travel trailer parks, mixed uses and hotel/motel parcels.

The resolution also authorizes Price to review the fire assessment roll, adjust each property and transmit it to the Manatee County Property Appraiser.

In other matters, Price reported that new radios being procured by an $800,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant are expected by June 20.

Deputy Chief Brett Pollock wrote the successful grant for all Manatee County fire departments and districts.

Attorney Jim Dye is preparing an agreement relative to sharing costs with the other districts, Price said.

Price also called attention to a new hurricane preparedness plan that had been distributed to commissioners. Due to timing of the Station 2 remodel and other district concerns, Ricci said he needed more review, and a consensus of the board postponed the matter.

The next meeting will be 6 p.m. Thursday, June 21, at the WMFR administrative office, 6417 Third Ave. W., Bradenton.

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