Fire Board Sets Tax Rate

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Rate and Budget Both Up

At their Final Budget Hearing for Fiscal year 2019 – 2020, the Fire Board unanimously approved a tax rate of 2.9851 and a budget of $22,327,453, reinforcing their decision two weeks ago at their preliminary Budget Hearing. The 2018 -19 tax rate is 2.6153; Total Budget $20,239,619. Details of the budget are available here. Present were Chair Larry Wood, Vice-Chair Ron Fleming, John Bennett and Jacki Liszak. Secretary/Treasurer Bob Raymond was absent.

During their regular September Board meeting that followed the Budget Hearing, the board handled a light agenda, without any old or new business.

Battalion Chief Jake Lamb spoke as the union representative for IAFF District 15 and provided the board with some basic information on how the grievance process works, noting that there are “a couple grievances in motion.” He also encouraged board members to feel free to speak with union members to get their point of view on district issues in general.

Fire Chief Matt love gave the Chief’s Report, noting that the department participated in “School Slow Down” at the start of school to remind drivers about school zone safety. The launch of the department’s social media presence went well, he said, adding that it was helpful as the department shared a lot of useful hurricane prep info related to Hurricane Dorian.

Service  anniversaries recognized in July and August included: Division Chief Randy Kraus 15 years; Captain Mike Brown 18 years, Driver Engineer Jen Gordon 13 years and  Firefighter Michael Tejeda 2 years.

During Public Comment, Rick Loughery spoke to the board, asking for consistency and more information sharing in regard to the department’s Property Ordinance Registration for vacation rentals. He reported receiving a letter regarding the reinspection of homes he manages in late August. “Why was it changed from ‘periodic’ to ‘annual’?” Loughery emphasized that with 170 homes to prepare for inspection, advance notice of any change is important. He encouraged the board to look at how Monroe County and Key West handle their inspections. “Please consider these things. It is seriously not fair to those of us trying to do our best to stay up on this ordinance.”

The Fire Board will hold a work session meeting at 9:30am on Wednesday, October 9 at the FMB Library.