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City discusses property tax increase for policing, emergency management

Posted at 7:31 PM, May 24, 2023

TALLAHASSE, FL (WTXL) — Erwin Jackson is a landlord and tax payer in Tallahassee who said he worries this increase will make it harder for him to provide housing to his tenants at an affordable price.

"When I get a tax bill that has increased, am I going to pay it? No," Jackson said. "My tenant will. And it makes life significantly more difficult for that tenant."

Erwin Jackson said a property tax increase to support policing and emergency management services is not the answer to the problem.
He said these increases will hurt landlord and tenants alike during a time that is already hard financially.

"I had tenants for the first time in forty years I had to increase the rent on when they were simply wanting to renew," Jackson said. "I have never had to do that before. So, it's getting worse."

The two the millage rate hikes would increase the property tax of the average homeowner by about $168 a year. $132 of that going toward the police department, which is down $12 from what was proposed at the last workshop. The rest will support the cost that comes with the 94% increase in emergency calls in Leon County from 2004 to 2022.

Something Commissioner Curtis Richardson said is a life or death matter.

"Her son was shot and killed. How do we tell that mother that we're not going to invest in increased public safety in our community?" Richardson said.

Not all commissioners agree.
Commissioner Jeremy Matlow said he thinks there are other ways the city can improve public safety than upping the tax rate and wants to see more data supporting the need for the increase for EMS.

"If we want to save lives, it's about reducing poverty," Matlow said. "It's about making housing affordable, making sure people have more take home pay. All of these things we know make our communities safer."

Jackson said he believes the police and EMS needs funding, but thinks the city can do it in other ways.

"Remove that off the table and then lets look at all of the other programs that we have and determine which ones we need, which ones should be expanded or which ones have been around and are not really serving a purpose and should be actually eliminated," Jackson said.

There will be a public hearing on these tax increases on June 14 so more people can come out, learn about the increase and voice their concerns.