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Fire district holds first budget hearing

September 12, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Sanibel Fire & Rescue District held the first of two public hearings on its 2019 budget last Wednesday, voting on two resolutions to set the tentative not-to-exceed millage and the budget.

The board voted unanimously to approve the tentative millage of 1.1089 mills - the current rate - in a meeting that lasted no more than 30 minutes and had no residents in attendance.

The total budget will be $8,636,650, which is about $100,000 more than last year when increase in property values are taken into account.

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Mary Hickey, the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District administrator who put together the budget, said nothing changed significantly from the workshops to the meeting Wednesday and that the final hearing will likely be uneventful.

"The final meeting will take as long as it takes to read the resolution unless someone shows up," Hickey said. "It's a good budget, it holds to the norms and we've never done anything in excess."

The department, which bought a new ladder truck last fiscal year, is looking at possibly buying a new pumper truck, at a cost of about $440,000.

Millage rates can be lowered prior to their final approval, but not raised.

On June 29, the Lee County Property Appraisers office released its preliminary tax roll values, which reflected that the district's valuations rose 2.90 percent to about $5.32 billion, up $149.72 million.

The second and final budget hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 5:01 p.m.

Hickey said in her 20 years at the department, she has only had three people come to complain about the budget.

"We usually don't get anyone to come and complain. We tend to be very prudent with our money," Hickey said.

 
 

 

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