Mexico Beach Property Owners Weigh In On Possible Fire Assessment

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. - On Monday night, Mexico Beach residents and business owners weighed in on a possible new fire assessment tax to their property. City council members held a public workshop explaining the proposed assessment while also hearing from residents.

Most have disagreed with the fire assessment.

However, Mexico Beach resident Bill Hamilton says he supports it. "I know it's going to cost more in taxes and assessment, but I'd rather pay that than simply in insurance," he said.

So far, Mexico Beach Fire Chief Daniel Simmons says the assessment is $356 a year for residential, .50 cents a square foot for commercial, and $54 for vacant land.

Simmons says the fire department needs this money to fully staff the station. Right now the Insurance Service Office, or ISO rates Mexico Beach at a five. One is the best, ten is the worst.

If the assessment doesn't pass, Simmons says the city could regress to a ten, and insurance rates could drastically go up.

"We know that commercial rates are higher, but it's based on the amount of call statistics, and we have to do the assessment in a fair way. So we'll just have to see what will happen next Tuesday and go from there," said Simmons.

The city council will hold a public hearing, and make a final vote during their regular meeting, next Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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