Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who will be affected by the proposed Fire MSBU increase?
This affects all property owners in the unincorporated areas of Escambia County. This includes the Town of Century.
Q. Who gives Escambia County the authority to create and increase an MSBU rate?
Florida Statutes Chapter 125.01(1)(a) authorizes the Board of County Commissioners to Create a Municipal Services Benefit Units (MSBU) to provide specific to any specific municipal services to any portion or all unincorporated areas of the county. Florida Statutes Chapter 197.3632 authorizes such MSBU non-ad valorem assessments to be billed and collected in a uniform manner with ad valorem taxes.
Q. Why are increases in the fire MSBU needed?
As Escambia County continues to have an increase for many Public Safety resources, Fire – Rescue is definitely no exception. Our urban and suburbanized areas are continuing to have a significant increase in the services provided by our firefighters. In order to meet these needs we are recommending the addition of full-time firefighter staffing at three of our stations. This will consist of 36 positions.
We are additionally recommending an increase to the monthly stipend payments to our Volunteer Firefighters. This is expected to support our efforts to recruit and retain Volunteer Firefighters who are being affected by increase training and emergency response demands.
Q. What communities will benefit from the increased fire MSBU?
The Myrtle Grove, Innerarity Point and Bellview Fire Stations were identified as the priorities for full-time staffing. These areas were prioritized by call volume, densely populated areas, target fire hazards and difficulties in meeting these demands by Volunteer Staffing alone.
It’s important to note that Escambia County fire stations serve the entire county and not just the communities that they are physically located in. This is especially true during fires. An example would be that routinely 4 stations are sent to a house fire. This is done to provide adequate resources to efficiently mitigate the emergency.
The Volunteer Firefighters serving these areas will continue to serve with the addition of these resources.
Q. How will residents benefit from an increase in the fire MSBU?
The additional funding will provide full-time staffing to ensure that fire personnel are able to respond immediately when the emergency call is received.
The ability to immediately respond can greatly reduce the negative impacts of both a fire and medical emergency.
Q. Has it already been decided to implement the increased MSBU?
No, the Board of County Commissioners directed staff to place the recommended increases on the Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice which will be mailed out in July. This notice will include the proposed rates, dates of public hearings and a number to call with any questions.
Q. Are there different MSBU rates?
Yes, there are rates for residential, commercial and unimproved properties. Thee rates are determined based on the average response to these categories of properties over the last three years.
Q. What are the proposed increases?
Q. I received a Non-ad Valorem Assessment Notice in the mail, what is it?
Also known as the Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice provides property owners with their “right to know” about tax assessments that are proposed or adopted for inclusions on the property tax bill. This notice is provided in advance of a property tax bill and provides communication of non-ad valorem assessments that will be included on the property tax bill. The notice also provides details regarding public hearings scheduled by the Board of County Commissioners to receive public input regarding the proposed assessment roll prior to their approval consideration and certification to the County Tax Collector.