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Captiva fire commission approves refi, line of credit resolutions

By Staff | Apr 21, 2020

TIFFANY REPECKI The Captiva Island Fire Control District’s commission approved a proposed refinance agreement during its recently monthly meeting for the fire station building to replace the existing loan.

The Captiva Island Fire Control District’s commission signed off on a proposed refinance agreement for the fire station and renewed a line of credit for use as emergency funding at its recent meeting.

At the April 14 meeting, Fire Chief Jeff Pawul presented the commissioners with a proposal to refinance the building’s current loan. He explained that the goal behind refinancing is due to a balloon payment coming up on the existing loan, plus current rates are low so refinancing makes sense.

He continued that three financial institutions provided proposals to the district.

“One came through with a really good one,” Pawul said, adding that other two proposals were “not even close” and he was even advised by the other two to take the offer after hearing the terms.

Synovus Bank offered 14 years, with an interest rate of 2.5 percent. It eliminates the balloon payment and provides an annual savings of $6,000 to $10,000, depending on payoff at the time of closing.

“This is potentially our best offer right now,” he said. “I think it’s good. I think we should do it.”

Commissioner Jeffrey Brown noted that there is no penalty for an early payoff.

“I think it’s a very good deal for us,” he said.

The commission voted 3-0 to approve the agreement.

The district’s attorney still has to review the proposal before it is signed off on.

In a separate resolution, the commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the renewal of the district’s line of credit with Centennial Bank for $200,000. It is kept year-round as an emergency fund situation.

Also at the meeting, recently-promoted Deputy Fire Chief Paul DeArmond reported that his old position of lieutenant has been filled. Joshua Hulslander was promoted to the spot the week before.

“We had four of our firefighters eligible to take the lieutenant exam,” he said.

As part of the testing process, four stations were set up.

“We ran them through four different scenarios – Hulslander came out number one on the test,” DeArmond said. “They all did well. It all worked out well. I think it was a good process.”

He noted that he ensured that the firefighters and grading panel did not know each other.

With Hulslander’s promotion, a firefighter position has opened up.

“We’re still working on replacing a firefighter,” DeArmond said, adding that the district has received about 25 applications from different areas. “Hopefully, in the next month, we’ll fill that position.”

Pawul noted that they have delayed the interview process for a month due to COVID-19.

On the subject of the current pandemic, Pawul provided the commissioners with an update on the district’s supply levels during the meeting. The N95 masks are the main item that it is lacking.

“Yes, we are low on supplies, as is everybody,” he said. “Has it become an issue for us? No.”

Pawul has not been trying to “hoard” supplies since other agencies have a greater need.

“We’re trying to keep that balance of how much we think we’re going to need and how much do we need to stockpile,” he said.


– Pawul reported that the district’s annual audit has been going on the last couple weeks.

“It looks like they’ll finish up here at the end of this month,” he said.

The results will likely be presented at the next meeting.

– The district responded to 34 incidents in March.