At Monday’s special meeting of the Marianna City Commission, the implementation of a new revenue generating “Fire Assessment Fee” for city residents moved a step closer to becoming a required expenditure for Marianna’s citizens and businesses. The measure is being installed in order to enable the City to increase the wages of city firemen and policemen. The budget for fire department wages and operations is anticipated to grow to $1.2 million within a few years. The increase is justified by the commissioners as being necessary in order to remain competitive with the wages of the County firemen, who recently enjoyed a large pay increase.
This new fee will initially offset 25% of this cost to the city. It will be increased in coming years. At this meeting the Commission passed a resolution which authorizes the city to levy such a charge. The panel also passed a second resolution which set the initial rate schedule. A public hearing on this matter must be held prior to final implementation. Concerned residents should watch for notices regarding scheduling of this rate table.
For residences the fee will initially be $4.00 per month, ($48 /yr). This will be increased by $2 per year until the rate reaches $10.00 per home, ($120 / yr.) For business facilities the fee will be based on a square footage basis, and will be approximately four times the residential rates.
It should be noted that the County is also in the process of adding these fees for county residences and businesses. Also, it should be remembered that Florida Public Utilities will implement a 8% rate increase in January, 2015. All of these new living costs create the greatest burden on the elderly and those in poverty, who do not realize income increases when their costs are increased.