The City of Tavares recently added a fire protection fee to help with the ever growing size of government in the city. Now, they are asking Lake County to pay those fees to protect the county's buildings in downtown.
The original request was for $500,000, but in front of the County Commission, Tavares Mayor Robert Wolfe says $181,000 would do the trick.
"Right now, the citizens of Tavares taxpayers pay the entire amount, which I believe is not fair or equitable for the citizens of Tavares."
Commissioners like Jimmy Connor questioned the expenditure. Tavares has just two fire stations, including one downtown that is housed in the Old Train Station. Connor quizzed Tavares City Manager John Drury.
"Every single building in this city has a value for the service they are getting," explained Drury.
"For the fire service?" Conner asked.
"For the fire service they are getting," Drury replied.
"What do you do with the churches now?"asked Conner.
"They don't get, they don't get charged," Drury answered.
The city got more bad news from County Manager David Heath. This year's budget does not have the kind of leeway to start paying these fire fees.
"The $8.6 million deficit that we are looking at next year, based on everybody in the pool -- the constitutionals, cutting theirs across the board -- you're going to have to cut the departments, your departments, $1.5 million and that equates to 6 percent."
Even with those daunting budget numbers, Lake County leaders said they will at least consider the request during their upcoming budget workshops.