Chiefland delays fire inspection fees

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

City Commissioners voted Monday night to postpone a decision about proposed fire inspection fees.

Chiefland Fire Chief John Ward said the fees, which would charge existing businesses $50 for yearly fire inspections would go toward offsetting the cost associated with inspections, permitting and plan reviews.

New businesses would also be charged $100 for the first $1,000 spent, $6.75 for each additional $1,000 up to $250,000, and $3.50 per every $1,000 over $250,000, according to figures provided by Ward.

Ward said the dollar amounts were based on a model provided by the city of Gainesville.

An additional 20 percent of the total would also be charged for commercial plan review.

Ward said the fees would be an important source of income for the fire department's already strained budget.

But the commissioners expressed some reservations about the specifics of the proposal.

Vice Mayor and Commissioner Teresa Barron said the fees should be based on the size of the job or the amount of time it takes.

Small businesses shouldn't be expected to pay the same fees that a large corporation does, she said.

The city commission voted to discuss the proposal further at the next meeting.

In other matters:

_ City Manager Grady Hartzog said the city made $5,455.75 from the recent auction of items the city no longer had use for. Two of the more notable items were a 1996 Ford flatbed truck and a John Deere mower.

_ City commissioners voted to redraft an ordinance that bans the location of a "sexually oriented business" within Chiefland City Limits. City Attorney Norm Fugate said the outright ban on such businesses is unconstitutional. So, officials want to make the ordinance comply with federal and state regulations. There are no current proposals for such a business in Chiefland, but by being proactive, Fugate said, officials will have greater control over where such an operation could be located

The city commission unanimously passed a motion to send a letter to the School Board of Levy County asking them to reconsider their denial of higher wages for Chiefland's school crossing guards. Currently, the areas four crossing guards each make $14 a day.

Police Chief Robert Douglas said keeping the crossing guards on staff is of the utmost importance.

" I'd hate to lose the ones we've got," he said.