Fire Assessment District

Updated 06/20/2022 at 9:00 PM

The Oviedo City Council unanimously voted to deny Resolution 4329-22 at the June 20, 2022 Oviedo City Council meeting. 

 


At its January 10 Work Session, the Oviedo City Council discussed creating a Fire Assessment District. This Non-ad Valorem assessment would be a fee charged on real property but not based on the value of your property (like property taxes). 

Non-ad Valorem assessments are charged to cover the costs associated with a specific benefit to the property. In this case, fire protection services.

At its February 7 Regular Meeting, City Council unanimously voted to schedule a public hearing on February 21

  • Ordinance No. 1715, City Corporate Limits - provides for the definition of the City of Oviedo city corporate limits to those lands previously incorporated through annexation. This Ordinance defines the City limits. Read the Ordinance and supporting documents online in the February 7 City Council packet beginning on page 46.
  • Ordinance No. 1716, Fire Assessment District -  establishes a citywide Fire Assessment District, the boundaries of which are enumerated in the Ordinance 1715, City Corporate Limits. There are still many steps and approvals from City Council required before any fee is assessed. Read the Ordinance and supporting documents online in the February 7 City Council packet beginning on page 710.

The Oviedo City Council passed the above two Ordinances unanimously in its February 21 City Council Meeting.

At the March 28, 2022, and April 25, 2022 City Council Work Sessions, the Oviedo City Council deliberated over the assessment methodology. The Council came to a consensus to phase in an assessment based on building or Land square footage, over five (5) years. City staff will now prepare a resolution for City Council's consideration that will formally establish the non-ad valorem assessment rate for the fire district.

At the May 23, 2022 City Council meeting, Councilmembers adopted Resolution 4124-22, setting the initial Fire Assessment rate. 

Based on the projected 2027 Fire Service Budget, the City Council set the initial rate at 60% the first year (2023), 70% the second year(2024), 80% the third year (2025), 90% the fourth year (2026) and 100% the fifth year (2027). The fee is determined using a statistical analysis of all developed single-family residential parcels to allocate recovered costs from Residential, General Service and Multi-Family property classes. Each parcel is assigned an Equivalent Benefit Unit (EBU) based on the average-sized dwelling unit in the City of Oviedo of 2,125 square feet, capped at 50 EBU's. Vacant properties are also assigned an EBU per 11,300 square feet of area. If the final rate is adopted, Oviedo residential, multi-family and general service properties will be charged a fee of $212.21 per EBU on the 2022 Tax bills. 

Property owners will be sent a legal notice and informational pamphlet which will give each individual more information, including your property category, the number of EBU's attributed to your property, and the assessment fee you will receive on your 2022 Property Tax Bill.   

On June 20, 2022 the Oviedo City Council will conduct a public hearing to adopt the Final Assessment Rate Resolution. The hearing will be held at 6:30 PM, or shortly thereafter in the Oviedo City Council Chambers located at 400 Alexandria Blvd, Oviedo, FL 32765.

Please see the "Implementation Schedule" below for more details on the timeline, and monitor City public meeting agendas for agenda items related to this topic. When this topic is placed on a future agenda, the City will update this web page, and publish this information via social media and the Oviedo in the News newsletter. This web page will be updated as the Council moves through the process of creating a Fire Assessment District.

The Need for a Fire Assessment District
Since the great recession of 2008, the City of Oviedo’s Ad-Valorem, or property tax revenue, has not covered the cost of the City’s Public Safety Services.  As illustrated in the chart below, over this period, public safety expenses have increased at a greater rate than Ad Valorem (property tax) revenue.  If adopted, the Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment will help close this gap and provide a more stable operational foundation for Fire protection services.

public safety expenses


Funding fire protection services through a Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment ensures that all property owners that benefit from the service contribute to the cost of the service. If passed, each property owner in the City of Oviedo would pay a proportional share of the costs of fire services. The goal of a Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment program is to create a more stable funding source that does not fluctuate with economic cycles and the change in assessed value of real property.

Read more online in the Fire Assessment District FAQ below.

What's Next

On June 20, 2022 the Oviedo City Council will conduct a public hearing to adopt the Final Assessment Rate Resolution. The hearing will be held at 6:30 PM, or shortly thereafter in the Oviedo City Council Chambers located at 400 Alexandria Blvd, Oviedo, FL 32765.


RESOURCES FOR RESIDENTS:

  • Watch the January 10 Work Session via the City's YouTube channel. The meeting begins at the 15:00 mark. Watch all live or recorded City public meetings on the City's YouTube channel.
  • Read related materials in the January 10 Work Session Agenda and Packet. All City public meeting materials are housed on the PrimeGov website.
  • Subscribe to the Calendar "City Public Meetings," where you can select to receive text and/or email alerts for City Public Meetings. 
  • Attend future City Council meetings and provide public comment. View the City calendar for more information.
  • Correspond with your elected officials. The City of Oviedo has an at-large form of council government. All members of the City Council represent all residents. Click on each elected official to read their bio and view contact information.


Fire Assessment District Frequently Asked questions

Q:   What is a Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment?
A:    A Non-ad Valorem fire assessment is a special assessment (or fee) levied on real property, but is not based on the value of your property. Non-ad Valorem assessments are charged to cover the costs associated with a specific benefit to the property. In this case, it is fire protection services.

Q:   What will the Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment Pay For?
A:    By Florida law, a Non-ad Valorem fire assessment can only be used to fund fire protection services. It may not fund emergency medical services (EMS) as these services do not provide a special benefit to real property.  If adopted, the Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment will be a dedicated source of funding used to pay personnel costs, operation and maintenance expenses, renewal and replacement, and capital costs associated with fire protection services. This includes firefighters’ salaries, fire facilities, firefighting apparatus, equipment, training, and responding to fire emergencies.

Q:   What is the difference between Fire Protection Services and Emergency Medical Services.
A: Fire Protection Services are those calls for service except emergency medical services. Fire protection services pertain to a city or county agency providing strategically placed fire stations, along with required apparatus (fire engines, ladder truck), proper equipment, and also adequate trained firefighting personnel to safely and effectively mitigate a response to fire calls. National Fire Protection Association 1710 is the national standard that establishes staffing and response time requirements for fire calls for service. 

Emergency Medical Service pertains solely to any call type that involves medical or trauma treatment of patients due to illness or injury.  

Q:   Why is the City of Oviedo Considering Implementing a Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment?
A:    Funding fire protection services through a Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment ensures that all property owners, that benefit from the service, contribute to the cost of the service. If passed, each property owner in the City of Oviedo would pay a proportional share of the costs of fire services. The goal of a Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment program is to create a more stable funding source that does not fluctuate with economic cycles and the change in assessed value of the real property.

Since the great recession of 2008, the City of Oviedo’s Ad-Valorem, or property tax revenue, has not covered the cost of the City’s Public Safety Services.  As illustrated in the chart below, over this period, public safety expenses have increased at a greater rate than Ad Valorem (property tax) revenue.  If adopted, the Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment will help close this gap and provide a more stable operational foundation for Fire protection services.

As can be seen in the chart below, Public Safety Expenses have grown at a much faster pace than expenses for other General Fund or General Government Services such as Public Works and Recreation and Parks.


Q:   How will the Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment be beneficial?
A:    The Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment will create a more stable funding source to help improve staffing at fire stations, replace old equipment, and to better serve you. Additionally, it will free up financial resources to improve staffing, maintenance, and other City services which operate as a part of the general fund.

Q:   What is the General Fund meant to cover other than Police and Fire Services?
A:    The City's General Fund is meant to cover, in addition to Police and Fire Services, all City Administrative functions excluding those associated with Enterprise Funds. For more information, please see the graphic below.

Fund Structures

Q:   How will I be billed for the Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment?
A:    The Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment will be included in your annual tax bill from the Seminole County Tax Collector.

Q:   How will the City determine the amount of the assessment?
A:    The City contracted with financial consultant Willdan Financial Services to develop the Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment. Willdan analyzed the Oviedo Fire and Rescue Department’s budget and separated the budget into two (2) categories, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Fire Protection Services. By Florida law, the imposition of a Non-ad Valorem fire assessment can only be used to fund fire protection services. It may not fund emergency medical services as these services do not provide a special benefit to real property. Willdan Financial Services then developed several alternative methodologies for calculating the Non-ad Valorem fire assessment.  The methodologies will be evaluated, and a preferred methodology will be chosen to calculate the Non-Ad Valorem Assessment.  The preferred methodology and Non-Ad Valorem Fire Assessment must be approved by the City of Oviedo City Council.

Q:   Have other local governments in Florida adopted similar assessments to fund fire services?
A:    Yes, the Cities and Counties listed in the table below fund or partially fund fire protection services through Non-ad Valorem fire assessments through various methodologies.