191.009 Taxes; non-ad valorem assessments; impact fees and user charges.—
(1) AD VALOREM TAXES.—An elected board may levy and assess ad valorem taxes on all taxable property in the district to construct, operate, and maintain district facilities and services, to pay the principal of, and interest on, general obligation bonds of the district, and to provide for any sinking or other funds established in connection with such bonds. An ad valorem tax levied by the board for operating purposes, exclusive of debt service on bonds, may not exceed 3.75 mills unless a higher amount has been previously authorized by law, subject to a referendum as required by the State Constitution and this act. The ballot question on such referendum shall state the currently authorized millage rate and the year of its approval by referendum. The levy of ad valorem taxes pursuant to this section must be approved by referendum called by the board when the proposed levy of ad valorem taxes exceeds the amount authorized by prior special act, general law of local application, or county ordinance approved by referendum. Nothing in this act shall require a referendum on the levy of ad valorem taxes in an amount previously authorized by special act, general law of local application, or county ordinance approved by referendum. Such tax shall be assessed, levied, and collected in the same manner as county taxes. The levy of ad valorem taxes approved by referendum shall be reported within 60 days after the vote to the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(2) NON-AD VALOREM ASSESSMENTS.—
(a) A district may levy non-ad valorem assessments as defined in s. 197.3632 to construct, operate, and maintain those district facilities and services provided pursuant to the general powers listed in s. 191.006, the special powers listed in s. 191.008, any applicable general laws of local application, and a district’s enabling legislation. The rate of such assessments must be fixed by resolution of the board pursuant to the procedures contained in s. 191.011. Non-ad valorem assessment rates set by the board may exceed the maximum rates established by special act, county ordinance, the previous year’s resolution, or referendum in an amount not to exceed the average annual growth rate in Florida personal income over the previous 5 years. Non-ad valorem assessment rate increases within the personal income threshold are deemed to be within the maximum rate authorized by law at the time of initial imposition. Proposed non-ad valorem assessment increases that exceed the rate set the previous fiscal year or the rate previously set by special act or county ordinance, whichever is more recent, by more than the average annual growth rate in Florida personal income over the last 5 years, or the first-time levy of non-ad valorem assessments in a district, must be approved by referendum of the electors of the district. The referendum on the first-time levy of an assessment shall include a notice of the future non-ad valorem assessment rate increases permitted by this act without a referendum. Non-ad valorem assessments shall be imposed, collected, and enforced pursuant to s. 191.011.
(b)1. The non-ad valorem assessments in paragraph (a) may be used to fund emergency medical services and emergency transport services. However, if a district levies a non-ad valorem assessment for emergency medical services or emergency transport services, the district shall cease collecting ad valorem taxes under subsection (1) for that particular service.
2. It is recognized that the provision of emergency medical services and emergency transport services constitutes a benefit to real property the same as any other improvement performed by a district, such as fire suppression services, fire protection services, fire prevention services, emergency rescue services, and first response medical aid.
(3) USER CHARGES.—
(a) The board may provide a reasonable schedule of charges for special emergency services, including firefighting occurring in or to structures outside the district, motor vehicles, marine vessels, aircraft, or rail cars, or as a result of the operation of such motor vehicles or marine vessels, to which the district is called to render such emergency service, and may charge a fee for the services rendered in accordance with the schedule.
(b) The board may provide a reasonable schedule of charges for fighting fires occurring in or at refuse dumps or as a result of an illegal burn, which fire, dump, or burn is not authorized by general or special law, rule, regulation, order, or ordinance and which the district is called upon to fight or extinguish.
(c) The board may provide a reasonable schedule of charges for responding to or assisting or mitigating emergencies that either threaten or could threaten the health and safety of persons, property, or the environment, to which the district has been called, including a charge for responding to false alarms.
(d) The board may provide a reasonable schedule of charges for inspecting structures, plans, and equipment to determine compliance with firesafety codes and standards.
(e) The district shall have a lien upon any real property, motor vehicle, marine vessel, aircraft, or rail car for any charge assessed under this subsection.
(4) IMPACT FEES.—If the general purpose local government has not adopted an impact fee for fire services which is distributed to the district for construction within its jurisdictional boundaries, and the Legislature has authorized independent special fire control districts to impose impact fees by special act or general law other than this act, the board may establish a schedule of impact fees in compliance with any standards set by general law for new construction to pay for the cost of new facilities and equipment, the need for which is in whole or in part the result of new construction. The impact fees collected by the district under this subsection shall be kept separate from other revenues of the district and must be used exclusively to acquire, purchase, or construct new facilities or portions thereof needed to provide fire protection and emergency services to new construction. As used in this subsection, “new facilities” means land, buildings, and capital equipment, including, but not limited to, fire and emergency vehicles, radiotelemetry equipment, and other firefighting or rescue equipment. The board shall maintain adequate records to ensure that impact fees are expended only for permissible new facilities or equipment. The board may enter into agreements with general purpose local governments to share in the revenues from fire protection impact fees imposed by such governments.