Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District referendum special election

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(Credit: CBS News)

There will be a special referendum Tuesday to stabilize Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District’s revenue. Also, with the aim of better sharing the costs of constant readiness of emergency fire, rescue and other services among all properties in the district.

Fire Chief Robert DiLallo made the announcement announced after months of consideration. This independent special district is in eastern Lee County. The Lee County Supervisor of Elections said he would hold the referendum.

Several years ago, the district moved to a demand-based method called a “non-ad valorem assessment” to fund the district, the Lee County Elections press release states. That approach has not satisfied public perception of fairness in sharing the burden of the district’s costs and is no longer effective to raise revenue adequate to serve Lehigh Acres residents and businesses.

In response to complaints of unfairness, the district will seek approval from Lehigh residents to charge up to $165 per parcel, plus a smaller amount for improvements on each parcel, according to the press release. The district proposes to use data from the Lee County Property Appraiser, which is certified to the Florida Department of Revenue each year.

This simplified approach has been tested and approved by Florida’s Supreme Court in other jurisdictions.

The District’s Commission proposed the approach. It would raise capital to meet the level of service set by industry standards, agencies and this community, including building and staffing a much-needed fire station in the northwest part of Lehigh Acres to enable reduced response times, per the press release.

If Lehigh voters approve the new approach, the simplified method will stabilize rates for all improved properties while slightly reducing charges for about half of the improved properties and many business properties.

On Election Day, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, polling locations in the District will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
•  To find your specific polling location, click here.
•  Polling place location list (includes temporary locations for the June 4 Special Election)
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•  Español PDF

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