Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas EMS tax rate could go up by 17.6 percent

The county administrator plans to ask Pinellas commissioners Tuesday for a 17.6 percent increase in property taxes to pay for emergency medical services.

The full increase is likely not the final decision for the coming fiscal year, Pinellas County Administrator Bob LaSala said Thursday.

The number is designed to set a maximum increase while commissioners grapple with decisions over ways to hold down costs.

Among those suggestions: Moving a paramedic position from Lealman fire Station 19 to Kenneth City Station 16; eliminating another paramedic position at Station 19; defunding the Squad 26 vehicle in the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue fleet; withdrawing funding from Bayflite; and using surplus money from the cities' and districts' current EMS budgets to offset money needed in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

If the County Commission follows all of LaSala's suggestions, the EMS tax rate would remain unchanged at about $0.5832 per $1,000 of assessed, taxable property value, or $58 for a $150,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption.

If commissioners decide to adopt none of LaSala's ideas, the tax rate would reach the cap that commissioners are expected to set Tuesday. That's about $0.6860 per $1,000 of assessed, taxable property value. For a $150,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption, EMS taxes would be $69 annually. A final decision will come in August.

The most controversial of LaSala's suggestions is to eliminate a paramedic position and move a second position from Station 19, at 6694 46th Ave. N, to Station 16, at 4600 58th St. N in Kenneth City, which is run by Pinellas Park. The two stations are about a mile apart.

The Lealman Fire District has lobbied residents, particularly those in the Five Towns area near 54th Avenue N and Park Street, to protest the move. The district says the change will increase run times, jeopardize lives and increase taxes.

County officials say that's not so. They say that first response EMS should not change because it will still be run out of Station 19. Response times in Kenneth City, the mid-portion of the Lealman Fire District, and parts of Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg will actually improve, they say.

The county also says the move will save money because Pinellas Park charges the county less per paramedic position than Lealman. A paramedic position, in budget talk, is actually 3.4 paramedics, one for each of the three 24-hour shifts, plus occasional substitutes, gas and other expenses.

The county has estimated the savings to be $451,000 in countywide taxes. Pinellas Park will receive about $300,000 if the change is made. Lealman will lose in excess of $800,000.

LaSala said the county plans a presentation about the proposal at Tuesday's meeting to explain the numbers and why staff members believe the move is a good one.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at (727) 893-8450 or alindberg@sptimes.com.

IF YOU GO

Meeting is Tuesday

The Pinellas County Commission is scheduled to set caps on property tax rates for the coming fiscal year during its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be in the Fifth Floor Assembly Room, Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Clearwater. For information, call (727) 464-3485.

Pinellas EMS tax rate could go up by 17.6 percent 07/24/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 23, 2010 4:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hulk Hogan talks Tampa Bay, depression and politics on Fox News' 'Objectified'

    Blogs

    For better or worse, Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea is our guy.

    Hulk Hogan shows Harvey Levin his wrestling boots on Fox News' "Objectified."
  2. Pumpkin pileup: Fiery crash causes mess, closes portion of I-75 in Pasco

    Accidents

    Drivers on Interstate 75 in Pasco County should expect continued delays on Friday as road crews work to clean up a mess of debris — and pumpkins — left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash in the early morning hours.

    Road crews clean up a mess of crash debris - and pumpkins - left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash on Interstate 75 in Pasco County on Sept. 22, 2017. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Key matchups in Bucs-Vikings game

    Blogs

    In our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman breaks down five key matchups that will help decide Sunday's Bucs game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Defensive lineman Chris Baker is a question mark heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Will Bucs go 2-0? Are Gators on upset alert?

    Blogs

    It's football friday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' game in Minnesota, including the improved offensive line.

    Ali Marpet moved from guard to center on an improved Bucs offensive line.
  5. In this Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, photo distributed on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a statement in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim, in an extraordinary and direct rebuke, called Trump "deranged" and said he will "pay dearly" for his threats, a possible indication of more powerful weapons tests on the horizon. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. [Associated Press]