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Fire commissioners approve two resolutions

By Staff | May 19, 2020

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul

The Captiva Island Fire Control District’s commission recently signed off on the prior fiscal year’s audit and the disposal of capital assets, as well as was updated on a refinance deal for the fire station.

At the May 12 meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously 3-0 to approve a resolution accepting the financial statements for the district’s fiscal year 2018-19 as audited and prepared by firm CliftonLarsonAllen. Prior to the vote, representatives of the firm reviewed the draft report with them.

“It was a clean audit,” auditor Chris Kessler said. “We’re coming to you today with good results.”

He added that they had no difficulties completing it and that district staff were helpful.

Kessler highlighted some deliverables, including a summary of the audit.

“We issued a clean opinion,” he said. “It’s the highest opinion that we can issue.”

Kessler reviewed for the commission the included financial statements, such as the procedures performed and auditors’ opinions, as well as pointed to information of possible use to the district. One example was a fund with an unassigned balance that could be utilized when planning for 2021.

Commissioner Jeffrey Brown questioned the district’s share of the unfunded pension liability and adequate reserves, as well as asked about the percent of post employment benefits, or OPEB.

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul reported that he did not expect any issues with the audit, adding that the district follows the rules and does as it is supposed to. COVID-19 did make it a bit harder this time around.

“It was more challenging than it has been in the past,” he said of the auditing process.

Also during the meeting, the commission voted 3-0 to approve a resolution disposing of non-working and outdated assets, including a LifePak12, an Extractor Sled, auto defibrillator and Hearstart 4000.

In addition, Pawul provided an update on the proposed refinance agreement for the fire building’s current loan that the commissioners gave the green light to proceed with at the April meeting.

Synovus Bank offered 14 years, with an interest rate of 2.5 percent. It eliminates an upcoming balloon payment on the existing loan and saves $6,000 to $10,000 annually, depending on payoff at closing.

Pawul reported that the attorney’s fees and closing costs are expected to be between $22,000 and $25,000. He noted that it can be built into the loan or the district can write a check to cover it.

“There’s always going to be attorney’s costs,” Pawul said. “I would definitely recommend you don’t let this expense sway your decision.”

Brown voiced support for proceeding with the proposed agreement.

“I agree with everything that the chief is saying,” he said, noting that future fees might even be higher. “I’m not surprised by the amount. I like the flexibility that we have with this refinancing option.”

Commissioners C.W. Kilgore and Sherrill Sims agreed.

A special meeting is tentatively set for May 27 at 2 p.m. to sign the contract.

IN OTHER NEWS

– Pawul reported that fire rescue boat was out of service for about a week but is back.

– The district responded to 12 calls in April.