Fire taxes may rise 2 percent to 41 percent, or not at all, in parts of unincorporated Pinellas

Some homeowners in the unincorporated area could see their tax rates go up as much as 41 percent to pay for fire protection after county commissioners Tuesday tentatively approved fire tax rates.

Other property owners in unincorporated Pinellas likely will see no change in their fire tax rates.

The commission vote affects 12 areas in the unincorporated county. The areas are divided into so-called dependent fire districts. But because Pinellas County has no fire department of its own, it contracts with cities and independent fire districts to provide service in those areas.

Five of those areas — Belleair Bluffs, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs and Seminole — will see no increase in the fire tax rate for the coming year.

The other seven will see increases ranging from a low of 2 percent in the unincorporated Largo area to a high of 41 percent in the unincorporated area around South Pasadena.

The increases are blamed on several things, from higher operating costs to declining property values.

In South Pasadena, for example, the city, which provides the fire service, wants $57,000 more this coming year to serve the unincorporated area. The city of South Pasadena also wants to put more money — $32,000 — in reserves during 2012.

The tentative 10 percent increase in the Tierra Verde rate is due in part to a $280,000 repayment for a new vehicle used on the island by the Lealman Fire Department, which provides fire service.

The 2.2 percent increase in the unincorporated Largo area is caused mainly by a 12.1 percent decrease in property values there.

Reach Anne Lindberg at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

Tentative tax rates for fire protection

The County Commission last Tuesday tentatively approved tax rates for fire protection in certain areas of the unincorporated county. The taxes will go to pay cities and fire districts that the county contracts with to provide services in those areas. Below is a chart of the districts and a comparison of the current tax rate with the tentative rate for the 2011-12 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The commission is scheduled to meet Sept. 15 for final approval.

Fire districtTentative 2011-12

budget
Current

tax rate **
Tentative tax rate for 2011-12 **Percent

change
Belleair Bluffs*$883,150$1.732$1.7320%
Clearwater$3,844,440$2.139$2.65924%
Dunedin$829,810$2.010$2.25812%
Gandy*$192,960$2.159$2.2605%
Largo$2,325,690$3.438$3.5132%
Pinellas Park$99,830$2.368$2.3680%
Safety Harbor$407,780$2.680$2.6800%
Tarpon Springs$630,830$2.375$2.3750%
Seminole$7,800,320$1.958$1.9580%
High Point*$2,979,790$3.264$4.19228%
Tierra Verde*$1,576,910$1.738$1.90910%
South Pasadena$679,720$2.219$3.12641%

Source: Pinellas County

*Belleair Bluffs and High Point fire service provided by Largo. Gandy fire protection provided by St. Petersburg. Tierra Verde fire protection provided by the Lealman Fire District.

**Cost per thousand dollars of assessed, taxable value.

Fire taxes may rise 2 percent to 41 percent, or not at all, in parts of unincorporated Pinellas 09/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 10, 2011 4:31am]

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