ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- City Commissioners will decide at their next meeting whether to approve a new $25 fee for fire inspections at local businesses. Chief Mike Arnold said the fee is needed to help offset the cost of inspecting all of the city's businesses.
Arnold said the department needs to inspect all 1,200 of the city's businesses to help maintain the city's high ISO rating, which helps to set insurance rates. St. Augustine was recently upgraded to class 2, the second highest. Arnold said all businesses would benefit from the lower insurance rates.
"The way we do it now, the residents of this city are going to end up paying this fee," said Mike Arnold, chief of the St. Augustine Fire Department. "So why not pass it on to the businesses that are having the inspections in the first place?"
Business owners would only have to pay the fee if their facility is being inspected in any given year. Some owners in the city were skeptical about the proposal.
"I think it's a shame that the fire department has to rely on individuals to close their budgets," said Emmanuel Moorgart with the Plaza Verde Gift Shop.
The City Commission will next meet on Jan. 13, and is expected to take a vote on the plan then. But at Monday's meeting many commissioners seemed supportive of the proposed fee.