Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fire Fee Canceled Due to Uproar

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fire Fee Canceled Due to Uproar

Article excerpt

Byline: MAC MITCHELL

St. Johns County residents were in an uproar early this week after receiving notices in the mail informing them how much the county's proposed fire fee would cost. On Tuesday, county commissioners voted unanimously to cease action on the proposal.

Commissioner Ben Rich said he was against the proposal from the start, and was the only board member to vote against it earlier this year. Rich said he was glad to see the proposal canceled.

"I wasn't happy we got as far as we did with it," said Rich.

The County Commission was scheduled to vote on the proposal on Aug. 5, but due to public outcry, commissioners brought it up during their meeting Tuesday. After public comment and discussion by the board, there was a unanimous vote to cease action on the issue.

Commissioner Ron Sanchez told The St. Augustine Record on Tuedsay: "We didn't have any idea of what this was going to be. [The letters] were for public comment, and we got it."

Marci Skinner, a Switzerland community activist, said she understands the need to pay for fire services and is willing to pay her fair share, but thought the fire fee proposal was not the best answer to the problem. She also felt the county did a poor job of educating the public on the issue.

"I have no clue how they came up with my fee. They didn't convey that very well," she said. Skinner said she believes many of the county's residents felt the same way, which led to the mass outcry against the proposal. …

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