Dear Editor:

I am writing to publicly thank our County Commission for not taking the “easy route” at the last commission meeting by raising our Fire Assessment rates to cover a shortage incurred when the State Legislature passed a law exempting large agricultural land from assessment.

As one of the smaller landowners and taxpayers, it irks me when it is decided that we should be the ones to make the difference up time and time again when something happens that has nothing to do with us! The two department heads who proposed this increase make far more money each year than the average Suwannee County resident makes, it is easy for them to have the attitude that “it is just $18.”

What was far more telling during the discussion was that we only needed $2.54 from each taxpayer to recoup the loss of the $54,000+. The rest of the $18 would be used to finance the building of another fire station north of Live Oak. We may need another fire station, but we have to start finding ways to do these things without increasing the taxpayers’ burden time and time again. We took over much of the non-emergency transport in Suwannee County several years ago. This is supposed to be bringing in money for the county. This money should be helping to fund the EMS department and freeing up the general revenue monies to possibly put toward a new fire station.

Lastly I would like to thank the Suwannee Democrat for its coverage of the government meetings in this county. In an age where local newspapers struggle to stay afloat, having this coverage means so much. I have been a subscriber since the early 1990’s when my county commissioner told me that the issue I was asking him about had been in the Suwannee Democrat and it was basically my tough luck if I hadn’t seen it! Needless to say, I didn’t let that happen again. I encourage everyone to support their local media. Once they are gone, they usually don’t come back and then we realize how much we need them!

Sharon Higgins

Lake City, FL

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