Answers to the BURNING questions you all want to knowAs many of you have heard, the City of Savannah will begin charging a separate fire service fee (the “Fee”) in 2018. While all of the details have yet to be disseminated, I wanted to pass along the information to date. First, the Fee only applies to properties located within the City of Savannah. Therefore, properties not located in the City of Savannah who currently use Southside Fire will continue to use that company for fire protection services. In addition, those properties located in cities that have their own fire departments (i.e., Garden City, Bloomingdale, etc.) will not be impacted by the Fee.
Second, while there is conflicting information regarding the amount of the proposed fee, the City of Savannah Department of Revenue recently informed us that the approximate Fee for a standard, single family home will be $256.00 per year. I cannot guarantee this will in fact be the final amount as the City still is in the process of finalizing the details. The Fee is calculated based on the size of the building times a risk factor that is assigned by Savannah Fire Rescue based on the property’s risk of a fire occurring. As such, larger homes and non-single family residences likely will incur a more expensive Fee.
Third, both residential and non-residential customers may be able to apply for a discount of their Fee. For example, you may be able to reduce your Fee by 5% if you have fire extinguishers on all floors of the home. Also, you may be able to reduce the Fee by another 5% if you have smoke detectors throughout the property.
Finally, you all want to know when the Fee actually will be assessed. For 2018, the full Fee will be included on the second installment of city taxes. For the year 2019 and going forward, that fee will be split between the first and second installment. As the actual amount of the Fee has yet to be issued, please note that your client’s escrow account may be short when the lender goes to pay the November 15, 2018 city tax bill. For applicable properties, we have begun providing a notification to the lenders regarding this fee. Whether the lender will (or even be able to) include this estimated fee in the escrow calculations at this time likely will be on a lender by lender basis.
As more specific information is released we will update this article to keep you informed.
As always, if you need help with anything at all, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime at (912) 484-1996 (even nights and weekends) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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