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GCSD lowers fire assessment by $5



Fees and taxes often go up, but almost never go down.

Such is not the case for Groveland Community Services District customers.

Monday night the board lowered the district's per-home fire assessment from $60 to $55.

Directors went into the session expecting to renew the $60 fee for this fiscal year — a required formality before the charge can show on property owners' bills. The money supports fire protection for the district, helps pay back an almost $1 million state debt and funds other reserves.

Monday's audience was full of assessment supporters, said Director Don Myers before the meeting.

"I think people were happy with the manpower and the amount of coverage they got," Myers said.

But after questions from the floor and a presentation from Bartles and Wells — the consulting firm that recommended the rate — directors decided to drop the charge by five bucks.

After the meeting, board President Allie Baker-Henderson said she could not have predicted the reduction.

"I had no idea," Baker-Henderson said, "but it was fine with me."

Directors agreed when they passed the assessment that they would examine the rate each year. This year, because of a newly balanced budget, directors decided they could cut a little.

The money will not scale back firefighting services for Groveland, Baker said. Instead, fewer dollars will go into reserves.

Groveland Fire Chief Steve Williamson said he was happy with the results, and confirmed that the district would provide around-the-clock service.

"I think the board is trying to keep their promise to the people to only use the part of the assessment that they need," Williamson said. "Hopefully, someday, we can lower it more or not levy it at all."

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