Fire Assessment District
RESOURCES FOR RESIDENTS:
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: 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.
To learn more about the methodologies, property categorizations, the fire services budget, and fire operations follow this link to the City Council’s January 10, 2022, Work Session Agenda Item.
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.