GSG Client Showcase: City of Tallahassee

City of Tallahassee and Leon County Joint Fire Services Assessment Program

The City of Tallahassee provides fire protection services countywide (including all of unincorporated Leon County) through an interlocal agreement; volunteer fire departments also provide fire protection services within the unincorporated area of the County. Fire services provided within the City were funded by the City’s general fund.

In 1998, based on discussions regarding consolidated funding of fire protection services on a countywide basis, Government Services Group was engaged to develop a countywide fire funding program. However, only the City moved forward with implementation of a fire funding program that included a fire assessment for non-governmental properties and a fire fee for government properties. Both the fire assessment and fire fee were collected on the City’s electric utility bill on a monthly basis.

In 2008, Government Services Group was again engaged to assist the City and County in the development of a countywide funding program to fund fire services based on ongoing discussions regarding functional consolidation of fire protection services within the City of Tallahassee and Leon County. It was important that the countywide funding program resemble the existing City fire funding program.

Government Services Group worked with the City and the County on the issues associated with functional consolidation. GSG designed a program that reflected the level of service differentiation of properties located in close proximity of multiple stations through the creation of service zones. Government Services Group also worked with the City and County on several funding scenarios that resulted from the functional consolidation. Since the City does not have jurisdiction within the unincorporated area of the County, the City and County each adopted the fire funding program and imposed the funding program within their respective jurisdictions.

In the City, the assessments were collected via the monthly utility bill. The City also included the assessments for County property owners who receive a City electric utility bill. The City agreed to assist the County with collections for those residents that live in the County, but do not receive a utility bill from the City. Any separate bill delinquent amounts owed to the County will be transitioned to the tax bill in future years.