Proposed fire tax hike for West Palm Beach residents

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)--The fire tax in West Palm Beach could be on the rise.

The fire tax helps cover the upkeep of fire stations throughout the city.

City commissioners are considering raising the fee from $25 to as high as $85, according to our news partners at The Palm Beach Post.

This isn't the first time a rate hike like this has been brought up. In 2008, former mayor Lois Frankel proposed raising the fire tax to $100, then down to $65. But, commissioners and residents shot down the idea.

Now, commissioners say the rate increase could help cover about $4 million worth of the city's $8.2 million budget shortfall. The city blames the shortfall on rising pension costs.

Finance officials compared the proposed rate to rates found in other cities. Boca Raton residents pay $80, Hollywood residents pay $189 and Fort Lauderdale city officials are considering raising the rate to more than $200.

In West Palm Beach, commissioners won't set a rate until fall of this year. Public hearings on the subject begin on July 8.

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