Savannah Fire Rescue & Fire Services Fee Frequently Asked Questions

When will bills be issued?

The City Revenue Department will issue fire service fee bills beginning in September 2018. The fire service fee charge will be billed annually on the customer's City ad valorem property tax bill, beginning in September 2018. Those who do not currently receive a property tax bill from the City will receive a fire services bill beginning in September 2018.

Why did the City of Savannah implement a fire service fee as a way to fund fire services? 
Charging a user fee for fire services (as opposed to increasing property taxes) is a more equitable way to fund Savannah Fire. It spreads the cost to all properties that benefit from the service, including tax exempt properties. Customers will pay according to the cost burden their property puts on Savannah Fire, not according to their property value.

What are the benefits of paying for fire services through user fees versus a property tax increase?

  • Fire services will operate as a special revenue fund, similar to water, sewer and sanitation.  That means all fire fee revenue collected will be spent on fire services only;
  • A decrease in General Fund revenue previously spent on fire services will be used to pay for other underfunded services;
  • Fire services will no longer be vulnerable to a downturn in the economy that reduces property tax revenue.  This, in turn, supports long-term financial planning for Savannah Fire;
  • Equity and fairness increase when all properties benefitting from the availability of fire services pay the service fee.  The general operating fund will pay the service fee for protection of the City’s public buildings as well.