The assessment for vacant lots and vacant buildings on such lots should be for a special benefit for the Fire Department. as Fire and Rescue shown below and is usually called
FIRE DEPARTMENT SERVICE CHARGE
And it should be used for the Fire Department for its intended purpose. Plus the firefighters and emergency medical technician and rescue should receive at least $25.00 per call since they are volunteers. This money should be for volunteers only and necessary equipment and repairs not for someone’s salaries outside of the department.
Home Rule Authority
Sections 125.01, 125.271, and Chapter 170, Florida Statutes
Special assessments are a home rule revenue source used to construct and maintain capital facilities and to fund certain services. Additionally, state law authorizes the levy of special assessments for county and municipal governments1 and county emergency medical services.2 Special districts derive their authority to levy special assessments through general law or special act creating the district.3 As established by Florida
case law, two requirements exist for the imposition of a valid special assessment. First, the assessed property must derive a special benefit from the improvement or service provided. Second, the assessment must be fairly and reasonably apportioned among the properties that receive the special benefit.
In order for an assessed property to derive a special benefit from the service provided, there should be a logical relationship between the provided service and the benefit to real property. This logical relationship to property legal test defines those services that can be funded by special assessments versus those that cannot.
General government services, such as general law enforcement and indigent health care, fail to satisfy the logical relationship to property test and cannot be funded by special assessments.
Many improvements and services have been upheld by the courts as providing a special benefit to assessed properties. Examples of such improvements and services include beach renourishment and restoration, downtown redevelopment, garbage disposal, fire and rescue services, fire protection, parking facilities, sewer improvements, stormwater management services, street improvements, and water and sewer line extensions.
Once the service or capital facility satisfies the special benefit test, the assessment should be fairly apportioned among the benefited property in a manner consistent with the logical relationship embodied in the special benefit requirement.
Whether imposed to fund capital projects or services, a special assessment is generally collected on the annual ad valorem tax bill. Under this collection procedure, the special assessment is characterized as a non-advalorem assessment.4
General Law Amendments:
There were no general law amendments resulting from the 2017 Regular Legislative Session.
Attorney General Opinions:
Florida’s Attorney General has issued numerous legal opinions relevant to this revenue source. The full texts of these opinions are available via a searchable on-line database.5
Interested persons may view the opinions by accessing the website and performing a search using the keyword phrase: special assessments. Local government officials seeking clarification should review the opinions in their entirety. The reader should keep the date of the opinion in mind when reviewing its relevance to current law or any interpretations that have
been articulated in Florida case law.
Prior Years’ Revenues:
A summary of prior years’ revenues as reported by local governments is available.6
2017 Local Government Financial Information Handbook