Owners of high-rise buildings have rejected a proposed tax that would have helped pay for fire stations and equipment to help fight fires in those buildings.
The election, which was conducted by mail, involved 104 building owners. The number of votes given to each building owner was based on the number of acres occupied by the building. The tax was defeated 185 to 47.
"It was a clear statement from the existing building owners and proposed developers that they have no money for anything," said Fire Chief Allen R. (Bud) Carter. "Many said that in good economic times, they wouldn't hesitate to vote this in. But times are bad and many said there was no way they could vote to tax themselves."
The tax of 16 cents per square foot for buildings three stories or higher would have been added to the owner's annual property tax bills. The fee would have been implemented gradually over a four-year period and would not have affected homeowners.
Revenue from the tax would have been used to pay for the expansion of two fire stations, a new fire-training facility, and equipment designed to fight fires in tall buildings.
The buildings that would have been affected by the tax are in a 300-acre, downtown area that houses the majority of the city's high-rises.