If the Destin fire commission has its way, the maximum millage rate will increase by 3 times the current millage rate.



It has been brought to my attention that at their last meeting, the commissioners approved by a 4-1 vote to recommend this increase. Why is it when the fire district only needs to increase the current millage rate from 1.0 to 1.25 to balance their budget? The commissioners want a free hand to raise the millage rate to 3.75. What are they thinking when the city of Destin’s millage rate is only 1.455.



What’s wrong with this picture?



Let’s put this into perspective: Based on the 2012 tax rate, the Destin Fire Control District will become the second highest taxing authority in our district; only school taxes will be higher.



A home assessed at $145,000 will go from paying $145 per year for the fire department to paying $543 per year. That’s an increase of $398 dollars per year.



I understand that the current millage rate has been in effect since 1971 and some change may be needed. However, to ask the taxpayers of Destin to accept the maximum millage rate increase by law and not the 1.25 rate that is needed to balance the budget shows a lack of fiscal responsibility for our money.



What are the commissioners going to do with the money? Buy a home in Kelly Plantation, a yacht, two motor cycles, and rent a building for the fire department?



With new construction going up everywhere around us and the housing market rebounding, so will the assessments on our houses increase, causing us to pay even more money in the coming years.



With $3 million of taxpayer’s money already sitting in a savings account to purchase equipment, how much money is enough?



I challenge the commissioners to please show me and the people of Destin where this money is going and why we should pay the maximum amount under current law, when only a minimal increase is needed.



Who knows maybe, just maybe, you can change my mind. But I doubt it.



One last piece of advice to think about, “Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered”



Bob Wagner is a Destin resident who is mulling over a run for the fire district board.




Click here for more on the millage rate.